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Book Discussion: Pump: A Natural History of the Heart by Bill Schutt

February 27, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us as we discuss Pump: A Natural History of the Heart- with special guest Bill Schutt!

6-7PM VIRTUAL discussion of Pump: A Natural History of the Heart

About the book:

In this lively, unexpected look at the hearts of animals—from fish to bats to humans—American Museum of Natural History zoologist Bill Schutt tells an incredible story of evolution and scientific progress.

We join Schutt on a tour from the origins of circulation, still evident in microorganisms today, to the tiny hardworking pumps of worms, to the golf-cart-size hearts of blue whales. We visit beaches where horseshoe crabs are being harvested for their blood, which has properties that can protect humans from deadly illnesses. We learn that when temperatures plummet, some frog hearts can freeze solid for weeks, resuming their beat only after a spring thaw. And we journey with Schutt through human history, too, as philosophers and scientists hypothesize, often wrongly, about what makes our ticker tick. Schutt traces humanity’s cardiac fascination from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, who believed that the heart contains the soul, all the way up to modern-day laboratories, where scientists use animal hearts and even plants as the basis for many of today’s cutting-edge therapies.

Written with verve and authority, weaving evolutionary perspectives with cultural history, Pump shows us this mysterious organ in a completely new light.

About the Author:

Bill Schutt is an Emeritus Professor of Biology at LIU Post and a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. His newest non-fiction book, Pump: A Natural History of the Heart was published on September 21, 2021 and is currently available everywhere books are sold. Pump has already garnered great reviews from Publisher’s Weekly (starred review), Kirkus Reviews, The Wall Street Journal, Cool Green Science, and elsewhere. His last book, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, garnered widespread rave reviews from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and elsewhere. Schutt’s first book, Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures, was selected as a Best Book of 2008 by Library Journal and Amazon, and was chosen for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program.

Schutt’s first novel, Hell’s Gate, was published in 2016. The Himalayan Codex (R.J. MacCready novel #2) followed in June 2017 and The Darwin Strain (R.J. MacCready novel #3) made its debut in August 2019.

Born in New York City and raised on Long Island by parents who encouraged his love for turning over stones and peering under logs, Schutt quickly grew a passion for the natural world, with its enormous wonders and its increasing vulnerability.

Schutt received his Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the AMNH where he received a Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant. He has published over two dozen peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from terrestrial locomotion in vampire bats to the precarious, arboreal copulatory behavior of a marsupial mouse. His research has been featured in Natural History, The New York Times, Newsday, The Economist, and Discover. Schutt lives on Long Island with his wife and son.

He is currently working on a new non-fiction book on teeth, and has also finished the first draft of his first solo novel.


February 27, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


International Museum of Surgical Science
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