Ruth Kassinger’s writing focuses on the intersection of science, history, and business.
Her newest book is “Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2019). Algae created the Earth as we know it, with its oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans, and corals reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants. Today, algae is big business, from seaweed snacks to biofuels to plastics. Ruth takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour of her subject, delighting and amazing with stories of the good, the bad, and the up-and-coming.
Ruth is also the author of the book “A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered the Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants” (Morrow/HarperCollins, February, 2014). In this book, feeling frustrated by plants that fail to thrive, she sets out to understand the basics of botany and become a better gardener. To do so, she retraces the progress of the first botanists who discovered the basics of how plants work, and also visits modern gardeners, farmers, and botanists to discover the science behind extraordinary plants.
In “Paradise Under Glass” (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2010), following a devastating personal crisis, she chronicles her creation of a small conservatory at her home and her journey from brown thumb to green, as well as the lessons of personal loss and rebirth. Along the way, she weaves in the history of conservatories from orangeries to the hermetically-sealed Biosphere in Arizona. Carol Stocker of the Boston Globe called Paradise Under Glass “my favorite gardening book of the year.”
Ruth is also the award-winning author of eight science and history books for young adults. In addition, her science and health writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, National Geographic Explorer, Health magazine, Science Weekly, and other publications. She speaks regularly at conferences, bookstores, and with book groups via video call.
Ruth grew up Baltimore, and received a B.A. degree from Yale University and a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She and her husband live in suburban Maryland