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LATFOB: Science writer K.C. Cole

April 14, 2010 |  7:10 am


As a preview for the L.A. Times Festival of Books, coming April 24-25, Jacket Copy is talking to some of the authors you can see there. Science writer K.C. Cole -- formerly of the L.A. Times, now a professor at USC -- answered my questions via e-mail. Ask Cole questions about her book "Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up" or about how the universe works at her panel "Science: The Universe Revealed," at 1:30 p.m. on April 24.

Jacket Copy: What do you plan to see or do at the festival this year?

K.C. Cole:
Visit bookstore booths ... especially Skylight!

JC: Frank Oppenheimer, the subject of your book  "Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens," once said of teaching, "If I can succeed in making understanding seem like fun, then I believe that the student will want to understand many things, that is, he will become curious." Do you think that this could also apply to science writing?

Absolutely ... once people realize that learning about nature is just one "oh wow!" moment after another, they get hooked; it makes you feel more confident in your abilities to understand just about anything, and delight even more in everything from snails to stars.
JC: Does Los Angeles have anything that compares to the Exploratorium that Oppenheimer founded in San Francisco?

KCC: Yes, indeed. Categorically Not! -- which is an art/science/politics/whatnot series of events at Santa Monica Art Studios. It's a direct outgrowth of the Exploratorium.

JC: What are you currently reading?

Marcelo Gleiser's "A Tear in the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe" and Michael Gazzaniga's "Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique."

JC: Do you have a favorite book or movie about Los Angeles?

Steve Martin's "L.A. Story," of course. Oh, and the TV series "Six Feet Under."

-- Carolyn Kellogg