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Matt Wilkinson - Four Way Interview

Matt Wilkinson is a zoologist and science communicator at the University of Cambridge. His work has been covered in the Telegraph, Metro, New Scientist and Nature. In 2007 he attended drama school and wrote a play about T.H. Huxley that premiered at the 2009 Darwin Festival. Restless Creatures is his first book. 

Why science?

Like most scientists and science enthusiasts, I just love finding out how the world works, and uncovering its secrets!  And I've found that the deeper you look, the more beautiful it becomes.  It's a fascination that can never run out, because answering one question invariably leads to many more.

Why this book?

I studied pterodactyl flight in my PhD years, which opened my eyes to the all-pervading influence of physics - particularly the physics of locomotion - on the evolution of life.  Once I had become familiar with the basic principles of movement, many fundamental aspects of living things and their evolution seemed to fall into place.  It was and continues to be immensely satisfying - even exhilarating at times - to 'get' life in this way, and Restless Creatures is my attempt to share that satisfaction with others.

What’s next?

There are a few potential sophomore avenues I might explore - among them the evolution of chemical communication in all its guises, or of the voice.  I'm also thinking of putting my playwright hat on again! 

What’s exciting you at the moment? 

My current bee in bonnet is the evolution of the idea of evolution, and why it was only when Darwin weighed in that the idea - with a long pre-Darwinian heritage - achieved widespread acceptance.  The political and social currency of evolution fascinates me.


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