Mary Roach

San Francisco–based journalist. Roach’s first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), propelled her to the forefront of popular science writers; one reviewer called her “the funniest science writer in the country.” When asked how she came to write a best-seller about a subject most readers would regard as morbid, Roach replied, “Good question. It’s possible that I’m a little strange.” In fact, a glance at a few of the articles she’s written gives one a sense of Roach’s wide-ranging, quirky sensibilities: “Don’t Jump!” (“Exactly what happens when a person leaps off the Golden Gate Bridge?”); “Turning Orange” (“Raw carrot abuse is nothing to laugh at”); “How to Feel Better about Falling Apart” (“Here’s how I cope with my disgusting, sagging middle-aged body”). Roach’s book Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005) takes up where Stiff leaves off, and her most recent book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (2011), explores life in the cosmos.