The Simple Science of Mary Roach
How a little girl who chased fireflies and blew up frogs grew up to become one of the world’s most successful science writers.
Mary Roach is not a scientist. She does not have a degree in science. Yet Roach has managed to establish herself as one of the country’s leading science writers.
Roach attracted widespread attention for her book Packing for Mars, in which she debunked what she calls “two delightfully absurd Internet hoaxes” about NASA supposedly funding research into astronauts having sex in space on their missions. One of them, she discovered, was an all-male mission.
“That would have been pretty brave of NASA to be looking into homosexual sex positions with government funding,” she says.
For a while, Roach found herself in an unlikely position as the nation’s go-to expert on astronaut sex—interviewed on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, NPR’s Fresh Air and others—even though she says there's not all that much to say about the topic.
“I never got anyone to admit to actually doing it,” she says. “So there’s not much of a story there.”
So how did a girl from New Hampshire—w…