As first books go, Dr. Adam Rutherford probably couldn’t have chosen a vaster topic: an investigation into both the origins of life itself, and the incredible potential of its man-made future. In Creation: How Science is Reinventing Itself, Rutherford offers a historical account of biology’s biggest breakthroughs, before introducing readers to what he perceives as the next one on that list: synthetic biology, loosely defined as the radical engineering of new or novel life forms.
Fortunately for readers, Rutherford is uniquely suited to write such a tome. A geneticist by training, Rutherford contributes regular science columns to The Guardian and recently ended an 11-year stint as an editor at Nature to host a new, weekly BBC show, Inside Science. We caught up with Rutherford, who resides in the UK, to talk about scientists playing God, the Supreme Court’s gene patent ruling… and his love affair with monochromatic clothing.