Widmaier, Eric P(aul) 1957–

views updated

WIDMAIER, Eric P(aul) 1957–

PERSONAL: Born May 14, 1957, in New York, NY; son of William Allen and Mary Elizabeth (Walburg) Widmaier; married Maria F. Van Ravenstein, August 18, 1979; children: Richard William, Caroline Mary. Education: Northwestern University, B.A. and M.S., 1979; University of CaliforniaSan Francisco, Ph.D., 1984. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: History, antique books, fishing.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington St., Boston, MA 02215-2406. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Boston University, Boston, MA, assistant professor, 1988–94, associate professor, 1994–99, professor of biology, 1999–. Frontiers of Biology (television series), WABU-TV, lecturer, 1994–97; affiliated with Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center, Boston, 1994–; Dedham town meeting representative, Dedham, MA, 1995–2001. Widmaier's World of Animals (television series), MediaOne Cablevision, MA, producer and host, 1996.

MEMBER: Endocrine Society, American Physiological Society, Golden Key Honor Society.

AWARDS, HONORS: Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology fellow, 1984–86; Salk Institute fellow, 1986–94, 1999–2004; National Institutes of Health research grants, 1986–88, 1989–94, and 1999–; National Science Foundation research grants, 1995–2005; Gaither Award for Excellence in Teaching, Boston University, 1999.


Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do): How Evolution's Strategies for Survival Affect Our Everyday Lives, W. H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1998.

The Stuff of Life: Profiles of the Molecules That Make Us Tick, illustrated by Heather Keller, Times Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(With others) Vander's Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function, 10th edition, McGraw-Hill Higher Education (Boston, MA), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Handbook of Essential Fatty Acid Biology: Biochemistry, Physiology, and Behavioral Neurobiology, edited by David I. Mostofsky and Shlomo Yehuda, Humana Press (Totowa, NJ), 1997; contributor to scientific publications, academic journals, and numerous other publications, including American Journal of Physiology, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, and Neuroendocrinology. Member of editorial board, American Journal of Physiology, 1992–96, Endocrinology, 1992–2000, Journal of Experimental Zoology, 1997–, Neuroendocrinology, 1998–2000, and Endocrine, 2000–.

SIDELIGHTS: Biology professor Eric P. Widmaier has served the Boston area with educational television programming, including Boston University's Frontiers of Biology, a series designed for teachers at the middle school, high school, and junior college levels. A specialist in endocrinology, the study of hormones and the diseases associated with them, he has researched topics such as the effects of glucose and fats on hormone secretion. These professional interests led him to write Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do): How Evolution's Strategies for Survival Affect Our Everyday Lives and a more general introduction to biochemistry titled The Stuff of Life: Profiles of the Molecules That Make Us Tick.

Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do) is based on Widmaier's observations about the natural world and the interrelation between humans and animal species. Reviewing the work for the New York Times Book Review, Jacqueline Boone wrote that the author "uses whimsical analogies to illustrate what our own anatomy might encompass if we shared some of the impressive adaptations found in other species." Widmaier writes of the evolution of human and animal physiology and some results of this evolution, including the obesity cited in the title as well as stress and diabetes. According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do) "is a book that invites readers to pan for gems" and a book with footnotes that "are every bit as interesting as the text." Library Journal contributor Margaret Henderson observed that Widmaier provides "lucid explanations" in his "well-written, easy-to-read book."

The Stuff of Life provides readers with an introduction to the basics of biochemistry and physiology, from atomic and molecular structures through the many mechanical functions that take place within every living organism. Noting the complex topic, Booklist reviewer Ray Olson noted that "few explain it as clearly and concisely" as Widmaier, and called The Stuff of Life a "dandy brief reference to how humans work." A Kirkus Reviews contributor, noting that the author's focus is on explaining the chemical processes and requirements underlying digestion, locomotion, circulation, and respiration, added that while geared for a general reader, the book contains enough detail "to inspire appreciation of the wisdom of the body."

Widmaier once told CA: "Between coaching Little League, running a research laboratory, teaching, producing a television program, and being a parent, there is little time left over for writing trade books! I have a couple in the formative stages now, and try to use what spare time I have to work on them. It is not drudgery by any means; I find the workings of the human body so compellingly fascinating that it is a wonderful chance for me to reach a broader audience and infect them with my enthusiasm for this topic."



Booklist, August, 2002, Ray Olson, review of The Stuff of Life: Profiles of the Molecules That Make Us Tick, p. 1903.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2002, review of The Stuff of Life, p. 870.

Library Journal, May 1, 1998, p. 134.

New York Times Book Review, July 26, 1998, p. 18.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), June 21, 1998.

Publishers Weekly, March 30, 1998, p. 58.

Science News, September 7, 2002, review of The Stuff of Life, p. 159.