top of page
price of altruism.png
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
The Man Who Invented the Chromosome


Author's official website

Oren Harman was born in 1973. He grew up near the Jerusalem forest, and for some years in New York City, where a local newspaper dubbed him "the little Israeli magician" for his exploits in soccer. After receiving a doctorate from Oxford University, Oren became a professor of the history and philosophy of science, and an award-winning writer.
Oren's books include The Man Who Invented the Chromosome, The Price of Altruism, and Evolutions: Fifteen Myths that Explain our World. He is also the co-creator and editor of a trilogy of books on Rebels, Outsiders, and Dreamers in Biology, and the co-editor of the Handbook of the Historiography of Biology. His children's book Darwin's Missing Notebooks is forthcoming. Oren's books have been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Turkish, Japanese, Polish, Italian, Korean, Hebrew, and Malayalam.

Oren Harman

Selected articles

Open Book

Will we care about genes in 100 years? - LA Times

Typewriter Keys

Review of 'Evolutions' in the Wall Street Journal: How the butterfly got its spots

Open Book

Review of 'Evolutions' in the New York Journal of Books


"A dazzling voyage of the imagination, the story of our origins from the Big Bang to planets to life, told in the language and style of an epic poem. Intelligent, provocative, playful, and beautifully written"

-- Alan Lightman

"A breathtaking race through the immense scope of time and space that is our universe. The processes of evolution are at times so huge and ungraspable for the mind - so magical - that they can perhaps only be fathomed through the language of myth... Brilliant" -- The Wall Street Journal

"Evolutions [is] one of the most important books of this genre in years" -- Medium

'Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain our World' by Oren Harman was conceived on a canoe on the Zambezi River, between hippos and herons and crocodiles and a starry sky, many years ago. It represents a life-long journey of a romantic rationalist to find a way for science to speak to our human fears and hopes, our existential wanderings. All cultures have always used the language of their day to spawn myths that explain their world to them, and today our language is science. Using creative story-telling, Evolutions shows how modern myths can be weaved together from the incredible discoveries of modern science. In doing so, it reawakens our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us.


"Evolutions is brilliant. It is a wholly original contribution to the way science ought to become part of the way we think about the universe and talk about the meaning of life. Harman weaves in astonishing erudition lightly. In elegant language, he gives the reader an accessible model of how science ought to contribute to our sense of values and the way we think about ourselves. Harman bypasses all the clichés that pit science against religion and juxtapose fact and myth. A moving and provocative achievement" -- Leon Botstein, president of Bard College

"More bizarre, more incredible than the ancient myths, the myths of science told by Harman are based on exacting and arduous research yet go to the roots of human perceptions and emotions, making explicit the sense of beauty and awe that drives scientific activity. It is a book that will bring the poet to science, and the scientist to poetry". -- Eva Jablonka, author of Evolution in Four Dimension

bottom of page