Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Support PBS Shop PBS Search PBS
To view the full experience of this website, please download and install Adobe Flash Player 9
  • 30 Second Science: Mark Siddall
  • Secret Life: Photographer
  • 30 Second Science: Ina Vanderbroek
  • 10 Questions: Joe DeGeorge
  • Science: The Bottom of Things
  • Secret Life: Culinary Adventurer
  • 10 Questions: Mark Siddall

Welcome to “The Secret Life of Scientists,” a web-only series that shows what happens when the lab coats come off. Every two weeks, you’ll meet a new scientist. Watch their videos. Ask them questions. Find out how their surprising secret lives fuel their science, and vice versa. Did you know that even Einstein had a secret life?

The 11th Question (and Beyond)

So we’ve already asked Mark Siddall 10 questions (and you can watch the video).

Now it’s your turn.

This is how it works: You send in questions for Mark via the comments for this blog post. We collect the best questions, send them to Mark, and he posts his answers in this very space. Ask him about his science. Ask him about his secret life. And, of course, be civil and follow the guidelines for posting comments.

Send in your questions, people of SLoS. “The Leechman” awaits….


Eating Wild

OK, so by now, you’ve probably watched our videos with Mark Siddall. And you know that he’s cooked and eaten some pretty weird stuff (that’s Mark with a glass of snake venom in the photo—he drinks it “shaken, not stirred” just like James Bond!).  Bottoms Up (Courtesy Mark Siddall) But Mark also, at least occasionally, cooks and eats foods that aren’t dangerous at all. He told us that he and his young daughter recently improvised a dish made of shrimp, sweet potatoes, onions, ginger, and garlic sauce rolled up in wonton wraps. And that sounds deliciously non-fatal to us. On our set, Mark described his cooking as “ephemeral” and said that each dish he makes “will never be done exactly the same way again” (that, of course, could have something to do with the whole drinking snake venom thing). Regardless, Mark is clearly just as passionate and creative with his cooking “secret life” as he is with his science. And we’d love to have him and his sous-chef/daughter cook us dinner sometime.


The Leechman Cometh

The first of 16 scientists we interviewed for this season of “The Secret Life of Scientists” was Mark Siddall. And we all knew he was bringing them, but when Mark walked onto our set with two jars filled with leeches, most of us were still pretty grossed out. Our associate producer Laura may have, in fact, had an aneurysm (we’ll know for sure when the test results come back–best of luck, Laura!). So why do leeches give so many people the willies? After all, vampires suck your blood too, but people love them (see “Twilight,” “True Blood,” etc.).

 This one’s pretty, isn’t it? (Courtesy Mark Siddall) Well, it turns out that the cure for bdellophobia (fear of leeches) is to spend some quality time with “The Leechman.” Mark Siddall loves leeches so much that he actually kind of makes you love them too. On our set, Mark took his leeches out of their jars and let them slither about all over his arms and hands. When our gasps subsided, we had to admit to being impressed by the way Mark embraces leeches (in this case, literally) and all of nature. As he said to us…

Continue >

Welcome to “The Secret Life of Scientists”

 Einstein (Jupiter Images) So scientists have secret lives?

Well, Albert Einstein sure did. He was quoted as saying “I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.” The violin? Not E=mc²? Not the theory of relativity? Not his first girlfriend, Inga? Yes, the violin. Einstein even used the violin to help him do his science; when he got stuck on a problem or equation, his preferred method of getting unstuck was to improvise on the violin.
 His secret life (Jupiter Images)

So is our message that you should learn to play the violin?

Not so much. It’s probably more like this. Man and woman do not live by science alone.

And thus… “The Secret Life of Scientists.”

This is the place where you can watch intimate, engaging, and funny videos with accomplished scientists who happen to have extremely compelling secret lives. You’ll hear these scientists talk about their work and about their “secrets” – the unique parts of themselves that make them who they are and often help to fuel their science. You’ll also see them answer penetrating and insightful questions like “When was the last time you ate blood?” and “Have you ever been called ‘Doogie Howser’?” Finally, you’ll get to interact via this blog with many of these scientists, with us – the SLoS team – and with the other folks who will make up “The Secret Life of Scientists” community (and that includes Inga… she was pretty young when she dated Einstein).

We’re glad you’re here and hope you’ll come back often. We’ll be posting dozens of downloadable new videos here over the coming weeks and months. Watch them, share them with friends, and, of course, send us your comments on “The Secret Life of Scientists.”


Coming Soon