The mysterious lives of giant trees.
Science writer Richard Preston talks about some of the most enormous living beings on the planet, the giant trees of the US Pacific Northwest. Growing from a tiny seed, they support vast ecosystems — and are still, largely, a mystery.
Richard Preston is one of the only humans to have climbed Hyperion, a nearly 380-foot redwood tree that is the tallest living thing on Earth. Hyperion was discovered by explorer Michael Taylor while Preston was writing his latest full-length book, The Wild Trees.
His earlier book The Hot Zone sold millions of copies, spawned a movie, and made the Ebola virus horrifyingly familiar. The book is part of his Dark Biology trilogy, which includes the novel The Cobra Event andThe Demon in the Freezer, a look at the bioterror implications of smallpox. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. His latest book, Panic in Level Four, is a collection of reportage on a wonderful range of topics, from mathematical geniuses to trees to one of the most shocking medical conditions you can imagine. (This is the book that was passed around the TED offices with the note, “Don’t read the final chapter while eating.”)
What others say
“Richard Preston … is a science writer with an uncommon gift for turning complex biology into riveting page-turners.” — Grace Lichtenstein, The Washington Post