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Carl Djerassi, novelist, playwright and professor of chemistry emeritus at Stanford University, is one of the few American scientists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (for the first synthesis of an oral contraceptive) and the National Medal of Technology (for promoting new approaches to insect control). He has published short stories (The Futurist and Other Stories), poetry (The Clock runs backward) and five novels (Cantor’s Dilemma; The Bourbaki Gambit; Marx, deceased; Menachem’s Seed; NO)--that illustrate as “science-in-fiction” the human side of science and the personal conflicts faced by scientistsas well as an autobiography (The Pill, Pygmy Chimps and Degas’ Horse) and a memoir (THIS MAN’S PILL: Reflections on the 50th birthday of the Pill).
During the past seven years he has focused on writing “science-in-theatre” plays. The first, AN IMMACULATE MISCONCEPTION, premiered at the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was subsequently staged in London (New End Theatre in 1999 and Bridewell Theatre in 2002), San Francisco (Eureka), New York (Primary Stages), Vienna (Jugendstiltheater), Cologne (Theater am Tanzbrunnen), Munich (Deutsches Museum), Sundsvall (Teater Västernorrland), Stockholm (Dramaten), Sofia (Satire Theatre), Geneva (Theatre du Grütli), Tokyo (Bunkyo Civic Hall Theatre), and Seoul. Productions in Lisbon and Mexico City are planned for 2004. The play has been translated into 9 languages and also published in book form in English, German, Spanish and Swedish. The BBC broadcast the play in 2000 as “play of the week” on the World Service and the West German (WDR) and Swedish Radio did so in 2001.
His second play, OXYGEN, co-authored with Roald Hoffmann, premiered in April 2001 at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, at the Mainfranken Theater in Würzburg in September 2001 through April 2002 (with guest performances in 2001/2002 in Munich, Leverkusen and Halle), at the Riverside Studios in London in November 2001, and subsequently in New Zealand (Circa Theatre, Wellington), Korea (Pohang and Seoul), Tokyo (Setagaya Tram Theatre), Toronto, Madison, WI, Columbus, OH, and Ottawa. Italian (Bologna) and Bulgarian (Sofia) premieres are scheduled for 2003/2004. Both the BBC and the WDR broadcast the play in December 2001 around the centenary of the Nobel Prizeone of that play’s main themes. It has so far been translated into 8 languages with 2 others underway and has already appeared in book form in English, German, Spanish, Italian and Korean.
His third play, CALCULUS, dealing with the infamous Newton-Leibniz priority struggle, has had staged rehearsed readings in 2002 in Berkeley, London (Royal Institution), Vienna, Munich, and Oxford (Oxford Playhouse) and opened in San Francisco (Performing Arts Library and Museum) in April 2003. His first “non-scientific” play, “EGO,” premiered at the August 2003 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Djerassi is the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, California, which provides residencies and studio space for artists in the visual arts, literature, choreography and performing arts, and music. Over 1200 artists have passed through that program since its inception in 1982. Djerassi and his wife, the biographer Diane Middlebrook, live in San Francisco and London.
(There is a Web site about Carl Djerassi’s writing at (http://www.djerassi.com)
Professor Djerassi has authored the following books with World Scientific:
• An Immaculate Misconception
Sex in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction
A Play by Carl Djerassi
• Newton's Darkness
Two Dramatic Views
by Carl Djerassi & David Pinner