Stuart Firestein and his colleagues at the Department of Biological Sciences study the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. His laboratory seeks to answer the fundamental human question: How do I smell? Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, Dr. Firestein seeks to reach broader audiences through nonscientific writing, public appearances, and his support of science in the arts. He also serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science. Recently he was awarded the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. His book on the workings of science for a general audience, Ignorance: How it Drives Science (Oxford, 2012) has received esteemed praise from the public and critics and has even become integrated into the curricula as required readings among several high schools and colleges.
Stuart Firestein serves as an Advisory Committee Member.