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Thor Hanson - Four Way Interview

Thor Hanson is a biologist whose research and conservation activities have taken him around the globe. His previous books include The Impenetrable Forest, Feathers (longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize) and The Triumph of Seeds. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and contributed to publications including BBC Wildlife and the Huffington Post. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest, USA. His latest book is Buzz.

Why history of science?

Simply put, curiosity.  I can’t stop asking questions, and that habit led me naturally to a career in science, where questions are the coin of the realm.  Writing books allows me to dive even more deeply into the topics that I find so fascinating, ferreting out stories that I hope will make others feel the same way!

Why this book?
I wanted to broaden our appreciation of bees beyond the one species we know best, the domestic honeybee.  In an era when  pollinators are experiencing widespread population declines, it behooves us to know, celebrate, and protect all the world’s 20,000 bee species, from honeybees and bumblebees to masons, miners, carpenters, leafcutters, cuckoos, and more. 

What’s next?
I’m writing a book about the natural history of climate change - not the process itself, but how plants and animals are responding, and how we can measure adaptation and even evolution happening in real time all around us.

What’s exciting you at the moment?
At this precise moment, I’m excited by the Barred Owl perched in a willow tree outside of my window, napping placidly in spite of being dive-bombed by angry robins!

Photo: Kathleen Ballard Photography

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