By Bev Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education
Kelly and Zach Weinersmith, the authors of this year’s WSU Common Reading book, “Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything,” will give the 12th annual Common Reading Invited Lecture 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in CUB M.G. Carey Senior Ballroom.
The title of the lecture will be “How Little We Know: Why Most of Our Opinions Are Probably Wrong.” The event is free and open to everyone. A book signing will follow the lecture.
“Soonish” is being used in dozens of WSU classes for first-year and other students. Extracurricular programming and events help to take the conversation about book topics beyond the classrooms.
“Soonish” is proving to be an interesting and fun book for our students, because it raises ideas and questions that challenge their critical thinking skills about topics such as interactions between humans and robots, practical applications for augmented reality technology, and the possibilities of precision medicine,” said Susan Poch, program co-director and chair of the selection committee that proposed the book.
Kelly is a scientist who studies how host behavior influences the risk of infection by parasites, and how phenotype-manipulating parasites alter host behavior. She is an alumna from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, earned her Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and is an adjunct assistant professor at Houston’s Rice University in the biosciences department. Since 2011, she has been a science blogger and podcaster.
“The Weekly Weinersmith” podcast, currently on hiatus, is produced with husband, Zach, an award-winning webcartoonist, actor, director and creator of the webcomic “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.” It has an archive of more than 4,000 comic strips and has its own spinoffs. He graduated in English from Pitzer College, one of the Claremont Colleges in California, and later attended San Jose State University to pursue physics.
“One of the most unique aspects of the book ‘Soonish’ is the science humor infused by Zach’s colorful cartoons,” said Karen Weathermon, program co-director. “There are Kelly and Zach likenesses, Neanderthal friends, salesmen, a fortune teller and more, all saying things that make points for readers to ponder.”
For more on the program, or to make a nomination for the next common reading book, visit the WSU Common Reading website.