Olivia Judson

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Olivia Judson

Olivia P. Judson (born 1970) is an evolutionary biologist and science writer.



Judson, who is the daughter of science historian Horace Freeland Judson, was a pupil of W.D. Hamilton.[1] She graduated from Stanford University and gained a doctorate from Oxford. Beginning in 1995 she worked for two years as a science writer for The Economist. In 1997, she wrote an Economist article named "Sex Is War!" which was awarded the Glaxo Wellcome Prize by the British Science Writers Association.[1] She later joined Imperial College, London, where she is now an honorary research fellow.

Her first book, Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation (2002), grew out of that article. Written in the style of a sex-advice column to animals, the book details the variety of sexual practices in the natural world and provides the reader with an overview of the evolutionary biology of sex. The book was praised by critics as being witty and engaging, without compromising its scientific integrity. It became an international best-seller and was nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2003.[1]

Judson has also worked as a television presenter. In 2004 she played Dr Tatiana in an adaptation of her book; the series was produced by Wag TV and EPI Productions for Channel 4 and Discovery Canada. In 2007 she co-presented Animal Farm with Giles Coren; the series, which explored genetic modification and pharming, was produced by Lion Television for Channel 4.

In January 2008, Judson began writing a weekly blog on evolutionary biology, titled "The Wild Side", for The New York Times website. For the first half of 2009, guest bloggers filled in for Judson while she worked on a new book, Dinosaur Eggs for Breakfast, and she has been on a year-long "sabbatical" from blogging since June 29 2010.[2]

In 2009, she appeared in an episode of PBS's Nova called "What Darwin Never Knew" which discussed DNA connections to evolution.

Judson has supported a possible future campaign to completely wipe out a species of mosquito which carries dengue fever.[3]



  1. ^ a b c "Dr Olivia Judson's animal magic". Reporter ("The Newspaper of Imperial College, London"). 11 July 2003. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/college.asp?P=4311. 
  2. ^ Olivia Judson (June 29, 2010). "So Long, and Thanks". The Wild Side blog at NYTimes.com. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/so-long-and-thanks/. 
  3. ^ Olivia Judson (September 9, 2008). "A Genetically Engineered Swat". The Wild Side blog at NYTimes.com. http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/a-genetically-engineered-swat/. 

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