Janna LevinUPDATE: Actually I meant that this wonderful line from her book be my title. Too late now but here it is, describing us as a species: "That was us - funny and lousy and great all at once."
A couple of weeks ago a friend drew me out to attend these talks.
As a result, I decided to look at Janna Levin's books and the Toronto Public Library system coughed them both up.
She is an interesting academic; the first book is a sort of odd diary of her academic life (and that IS interesting - in physics it seems you go on for years visiting before settling). However, you need to be willing to buy into a rather small, though at the same time large, question.
The second book seems in no way related to physics; it is an imaginative biography of Alan Turing and Kurt Goedel, the two figures who most drew me into my first career as a mathematician. That book was a heartbreaker, a lovely piece of work, and I recommend it to anyone.