Money, Nicholas P.

views updated

Money, Nicholas P.

PERSONAL:

Education: Attended undergraduate school at Bristol University; University of Exeter, Ph.D., 1986.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Botany, Miami University, 344 Pearson Hall, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Miami University, Oxford, OH, from associate professor to professor.

WRITINGS:

Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists (essays), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Triumph of the Fungi: A Rotten History, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of articles to journals.

SIDELIGHTS:

As a mycologist, Nicholas P. Money is an internationally recognized expert on mechanisms of fungal growth and development. In an interview with Frank Diller on the American Scientist Web site, Money explained that he initially wanted to be a mathematician, but "a series of introductory lectures on fungi left me awestruck." The author continued: "Until then, I had some vague idea that fungi were an unusual type of plant. I had no idea that their cells were constructed in a unique way, nor that fungi grow and reproduce in a decidedly unplantlike fashion. Since then, I have been hooked on mushrooms (so to speak)."

Money has taken his fascination with fungi and turned it into several books designed to be entertaining reading for the general public. In his first work, Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists, Money presents a series of essays that investigate various molds and fungi, from relatively harmless molds and fungi such as those that cause dandruff and athlete's foot to more dangerous strains that can wreak havoc on people's lungs and nervous systems. "Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for science devotees who appreciate rollicking good humor," according to Alice Joyce in Booklist.Library Journal contributor William H. Wiese noted that the author's "practically nonstop humor is irreverent and offbeat, which makes for some lively reading."

Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold focuses on the history of molds and especially on a black fungus called stachybotrys, which can plague houses and apartments with poisonous results. Money traces the fungus's origins to damp wallpaper in Prague in the nineteenth century and then follows its spread to North America. The author also discusses the true dangers of stachybotrys, which he sees as minimum, and the health effects of other molds. Frank Diller, writing in the American Scientist, remarked that the author "brings some much-needed common sense to … concerns about fungal threats to property and peace of mind."

Money presents eight essays about the most notorious fungal diseases in history in The Triumph of the Fungi: A Rotten History. In his survey of these diseases, the author writes about the people who studied them and the populations that have been adversely affected, including the Irish who suffered terribly during the potato famine, which was caused by a fungus. Money also writes about the ecological damage these fungi can inflict, including a particular fungus that grows in coastal forests in Australia and can kill more than three-quarters of the plant species. "The book rewards its readers—including those who begin the book with little interest in fungi—by focusing on plants with obvious importance to people," reported Chris Brodie in the American Scientist.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Scientist, September-October, 2004, Frank Diller, review of Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold, p. 470; January-February, 2007, Chris Brodie, review of The Triumph of the Fungi: A Rotten History, p. 88.

Booklist, October 1, 2002, Alice Joyce, review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists, p. 293.

Choice, February, 2003, S. Hammer, review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, p. 1007.

Library Journal, September 15, 2002, William H. Wiese, review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, p. 87.

Nature, September 19, 2002, Elio Schaechter, "A Stroll with the Moulds," review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, p. 253.

New Yorker, March 10, 2003, Mark Rozzo, "Mycological Positivism," p. 20.

Science Books & Films, November, 2003, review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, p. 247.

Science News, November 23, 2002, review of Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, p. 335; July 17, 2004, review of Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores, p. 47.

SciTech Book News, December, 2006, review of The Triumph of the Fungi.

Seattle Times, October 31, 2002, Irene Wanner, "Welcome to the Beautiful, Yet Bizarre, World of Fungi," p. G6.

ONLINE

American Scientist Online,http://www.americanscientist.org/ (April 21, 2007), Frank Diller, "The Bookshelf Talks with Nicholas P. Money."

Miami University Department of Botany Web site,http://www.cas.muohio.edu/botany/bot/ (April 27, 2007), faculty profile of Nicholas P. Money.