Wilhelm Reich, Biologist: An Interview

“Science! I’m going to plant a bomb under its ass!”

The author of the line above – who scrawled it in his private diary in the midst of a series of experiments in which he thought he was creating structures that were some kind of transitional stage between the living and nonliving – had quite a life. A “midwife to the sexual revolution of the 1960s” who was famed for his work on the science of orgasm, was widely maligned as a charlatan and pseudoscientist, did extensive work on the science of cancer, had his books and instruments publicly burned by the US government, and died in prison: it’s hard not to find Wilhelm Reich fascinating. In his new book, James E. Strick reminds us that Reich was also a diligent and accomplished laboratory scientist whose work has potentially important implications for the modern biosciences. We spoke about it for the New Books in STS podcast, and you can listen to the conversation by heading over to this page.