“Sleeping Cuties:” When Your Scientist Father’s Life Work Makes You Go “Wow!” But Also, “Awww…”

I’ve written before about my father’s work at the Duke Lemur Center. But never before has the mainstream media captured that work so clearly for us laypeople. And I have to say, I’m feeling a little conflicted.

On the one hand, my dad is a Serious Scientist who’s spent his life doing Serious Science. His past subjects have ranged from elephant seals to domestic and feral goats to reef fish to, yes, lemurs. (Which is why he is a co-founder of the Duke Lemur Center in my hometown, Durham, North Carolina.) His work has taken him all over the world, most notably to Madagascar, where lemurs live. This particular study has to do with understanding primate brains, with an eye to everything from surgery to long-range space travel. SERIOUS STUFF.

But on the other hand…these animals are really stinkin’ CUTE!

Now, thanks to this episode of Science Friday, created by Luke Groskin and Johanna Mayer, his research is easy to explain…and it’s also ridiculously adorable. I don’t really know what to do with that. But I guess if Dr. Serious Scientist Peter Klopfer can handle his subjects’ cuteness, so can I. Enjoy!

Wing Wecommends…

cup of coffee

courtesy Author Lynn Kelly, WANAcommons

Okay, people. If you love any of the following…

1. space travel

2. coffee

3. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

you have to check this out:


Seriously, if you haven’t read The Sparrow yet–stop reading this right now, turn off your computer, and go find a copy. I’ll wait. Then come on back to this website. You’ll thank me later. (Three words: Jesuits in space.)


For that matter, if you want to know more about this amazing anthropologist-storyteller who writes novels about space travel, Italian Jews in the Holocaust, Saudi Arabia in its infancy, and, of all people, Doc Holliday, check out her blog:


By the way, the Saudi Arabia one? Dreamers of the Day is going to be a movie! Think Lawrence of Arabia meets My Brilliant Career.