Carl Zimmer

Contributing Writer

Alt text caption: Three images showing highly magnified images of a snowflake, red blood cells and a tardigrade.
book excerpts

What Is Life? Its Vast Diversity Defies Easy Definition.

March 9, 2021

Scientists have struggled to formulate a universal definition of life. Is it possible they don’t need one?


Scientists Seek to Update Evolution

November 22, 2016

Recent discoveries have led some researchers to argue that the modern evolutionary synthesis needs to be amended.


Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses

May 21, 2015

In the few decades since viruses were first found in the oceans, scientists have only been able to identify a handful of species. A new survey has uncovered nearly all the rest.


Breakthrough DNA Editor Born of Bacteria

February 6, 2015

Interest in a powerful DNA editing tool called CRISPR has revealed that bacteria are far more sophisticated than anyone imagined.


The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

July 17, 2014

Newly discovered patterns in evolution may help scientists make accurate short-term predictions.


The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity

July 16, 2013

Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection.

About the author

Carl Zimmer is a science columnist for The New York Times. He also writes for magazines including National Geographic, Scientific American and The Atlantic. His books include Life's Edge, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, and Parasite Rex.