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spacerLaura Betzig
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Laura Betzig studies despotism and democracy in history. She's looked at the cross cultural record; done fieldwork in Micronesia on Ifaluk and Yap; and read ancient, medieval and modern history. She's written over a hundred scientific and scholarly articles, on subjects from sex in the Old Testament, to competition among Roman emperors and Pan troglodytes, to the persecution of Christians, to causes of the English Revolution. And she's published 3 books: Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of History; Human Reproductive Behavior: A Darwinian Perspective; and Human Nature: A Critical Reader. She's spent the last couple of decades at work on The Badge of Lost Innocence, a history of the West.

Betzig has a B.A. from the University of Michigan in psychology, ancient tabletsand a Ph.D. in anthropology from Napoleon Chagnon at Northwestern University. She's held research and teaching positions at Northwestern, the University of California and the University of Michigan in anthropology, psychology and zoology; and has lectured in departments of anthropology, biology, economics, philosophy, psychology and medieval history. She's done TV in the US and Canada, the Netherlands and the UK; and her work has been written up in newspapers and magazines like Time, The Sunday Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Politico, Slate, The Huffington Post, Discover, Smithsonian, New Scientist, and US News & World Report. She's contributed to the Annual Question at Edge, and blogs on "The Political Animal: Human History as Natural History" for Psychology Today.

Laura's daughter Alexa, MIT '07, Harvard '11, develops targeted cancer therapies for a biotech in Cambridge; her son Max, Booth '22, Carnegie Mellon '11, led his soccer team to consecutive NCAA tournament berths, and now works in a Chicago bank. Many of their ancestors were self-made. Laura's father, the son of a Queens cab driver, founded a company at 60; her unemployed brother invented a light microscope that won him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Laura and her husband of 35 years, the pediatrician Paul Turke, live together near Ann Arbor on Strawberry Lake.



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