Nick Matzke, Public Information Project Director, is leaving NCSE to begin a PhD program at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He came to NCSE in early 2004, planning to spend a year here before starting a PhD program; we feel fortunate to have had him around for two extra years. In addition to working at NCSE, he somehow found the time not only to blog regularly at The Panda's Thumb but also to contribute to the scholarly literature, coauthoring articles for Nature Immunology, Natural Reviews Microbiology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and contributing a chapter tracing the beginnings of "intelligent design" to the mid-1980s litigation over creation science to the new edition of But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy (Prometheus Books, forthcoming). Seed magazine profiled him in 2006 as one of its nine "Revolutionary Minds."
It was in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, however, that Matzke's star shone brightest. The staffer who was originally assigned to the case when it seemed as though it was just going to be a routine affair, he was instrumental throughout the case, providing a wealth of scientific expertise and practical advice to the legal team representing the plaintiffs. In his book on the case, 40 Days and 40 Nights (Collins, 2007), Matthew Chapman humorously wrote of Matzke, "The NCSE staffer initially assigned to the Dover flare-up, he now briefed the lawyers on the arcane ins and outs of science. Bespectacled, in his thirties, he was tall and large and peered down at you with a look of beleaguered doubt, as if to say, 'You're asking me this question about science, but you know and I know that you're not going to understand my answer, so, although I find this stuff fascinating, wouldn't you really rather go for a beer?'" We'll be buying him one or two as we bid him a fond farewell.