In her new book Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution, historian Holly Tucker weaves a tale of the first blood transfusion experiments (at the time, such transfusions were all animal-to-human) during the mid-17th century, about 150 years before blood transfusion began to enter modern medicine in earnest.
Tucker delves into stories of intrigue, heated scientific debates, political rivalries—and murder. Tucker, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Medicine, Health, and Society and the Department of French and Italian, creates a captivating read, breathing life into historical scenes and characters.
In this TON audio interview with Cynthia Graber, Tucker offers tips on reporting science history. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
Here, Tucker reads from the book’s opening scene, in which Jean Denis, the book’s protagonist, crosses Paris to preside over a blood transfusion:
Tucker and Graber suggest these resources for journalists conducting historical research:
Cynthia Graber is an award-winning radio and print reporter whose work has appeared on Scientific American’s podcast, World Vision Report, Latino USA, and Public Radio International’s The World and Living on Earth; and in print publications including the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Scientific American, and ASK Magazine. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. Follow Cynthia on Twitter @cagraber.