Laura Betzig, Ph.D., studies sex and politics in history. She's done fieldwork in Micronesia on Ifaluk and Yap; looked at the cross cultural record; and read ancient, medieval and modern history. She's published three books, and is finishing a fourth, The Badge of Lost Innocence: A History of the West.
Betzig has taught at Northwestern, the University of California and the University of Michigan in anthropology, psychology and zoology; she's lectured across Europe and the US to anthropologists, biologists, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists and sociologists; she's done TV for ABC World News, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, Britain's Channel 4, the CBC and KRO Information TV in the Netherlands; and she's been written up in Time, The Sunday Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Economist, New Scientist, Slate, Discover and Worth. Her world history should be done in 2015.
Laura's daughter Alexa, MIT '07, Harvard '11, works at a small Cambridge biotech developing targeted cancer therapies; her son Max, Carnegie Mellon '11, led his soccer team to consecutive NCAA tournament berths, and now works in a Chicago bank. Many of their ancestors were self made. Laura's father, the son of a Queens cab driver, built a machine tool company in Ann Arbor; her mother's parents, who opened a restaurant, were indentured servants; and her husband, the son of a machinist, owns and operates a pediatric practice. Her histories celebrate that.
Her brother, Eric, has just won the 2014 Nobel chemistry prize.