The Fantastic Laboratory: Arthur Allen Talk March 12

Arthur Allen's bookPlease join us the evening of March 12, 2015, when writer Arthur Allen discusses the lives and work of Rudolf Weigl and Ludwik Fleck, two forgotten scientific heroes. Weigl and Fleck used their knowledge of typhus and vaccines in World War II Poland to save thousands of people and sabotage the Nazis. Allen will also discuss the philosophy of science that Fleck, a Jewish scholar and diagnostician, developed under almost impossibly difficult circumstances in the ghetto and concentration camps. Paul Offit, MD, vaccine developer and author of many books about vaccines, medicine, and social issues, will facilitate a discussion.

Allen’s book The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl was a top science book of the year on NPR’s Science Friday. It’s a great book that discusses all aspects of the Weigl-Fleck-typhus story: the science, the geo-politics, and the people involved. And if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to keep body lice alive and producing vaccine virus, Allen will share details of that gruesome production method.

What: The Fantastic Laboratory: How an Arcane Vaccinology Protected the Innocent in a Desperate Place

When: 6:30 pm, Thursday, March 12, 2015

Where: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


Arthur Allen is a writer and journalist living in Washington, DC. He has contributed articles to the New York Times, Washington Post, Smithsonian, Landscape Architecture, The New Republic, and many other publications. He currently edits the eHealth section of POLITICO. His previous books include Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver (WW Norton, 2007) and Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato (Counterpoint, 2010).

Paul Offit, MD, is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His new book Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine comes out in March 2015.

Register for this free talk here.