PULLMAN —Renowned science writer Gina Kolata is coming to WSU Tuesday, Nov. 6 to present the first Common Reading Lecture.
Her presentation is set for 7 p.m. in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Kolata will discuss “The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Does It Hold Lessons for Today?” 
Her book, “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It,” was selected in spring to be WSU’s first common reading book. This fall semester, more than 3,000 freshmen and their professors are using it in dozens of classes across campus. They examine stories about the 1918 flu from many perspectives and discuss, for example, how that pandemic impacted world politics, economics, science, research, and history.
The Common Reading program is intended to expose freshmen to the value of research, the power of ideas, and the various ways in which disciplines across the institution approach similar problems. In addition to students and faculty in classrooms, many others at the university joined the common reading effort, such as staff in residence halls, libraries, and advising offices.
Kolata has been a journalist at the New York Times since 1987 and wrote for Science magazine previously. She writes about pressing scientific issues including the bird flu, stem cell research, cloning, disease prevention, use of drugs in sports, and common household dangers.  She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in investigative reporting in 2000, and received the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s media award for reporting on women’s issues and breast cancer.
Her other books include “Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead,” “Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise,” and “Sex in America.” “Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss—and the Myths and Realities of Dieting” was released in May.
Kolata earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland. She studied molecular biology as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kolata is the second guest speaker for WSU’s Common Reading program. In October, environmental historian, author, and researcher Alfred W. Crosby came to campus for a lecture and to meet with students. Kolata will hold question-and-answer sessions with WSU faculty and students during the day of her visit to Pullman.
More information on Kolata’s presentation and the Common Reading program is online at commonreading.wsu.edu. The public is invited to her presentation at no charge.