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Laura Betzig Ph.D.


Laura Betzig, Ph.D., studies sex and politics in history. She's done fieldwork in the Caroline Islands; 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, KRO Information TV in the Netherlands, Netflix and Amazon Prime; 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, Worth and US News & World Report. Her world history should be finished in 2021.

Laura's daughter Alexa, MIT '07, Harvard '11, assesses cancer therapies at a biotech in Cambridge; her son Max, Carnegie Mellon '11, Chicago Booth '22, led his soccer team to 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. Her histories celebrate that.

Her brother, Eric, won the 2014 Nobel chemistry prize.

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