At long last, three of our favorite things—books, booze and science—are coming together in a new monthly book club for the scientifically curious! This new group will meet monthly at Upland Brewing FSQ in Indianapolis to talk about recent popular science books. A local scientist whose research relates to the book topic will join us to share insights and help guide the conversation.

UPDATE: Until further notice, due to COVID-19, our gatherings will be virtual.

To join the  meetings, click the Zoom link below and enter the meeting ID:

Zoom Meeting Link:

To receive email alerts of further updates to the schedule and to get information about the Fall 2020 season, contact Leah Nahmias, director of programs and community engagement at Indiana Humanities (317-616-9804 /

2020 Spring Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 | 6:30pm-8pm
Book: And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts
Scientist: Dr. Bree A. Weaver, IU School of Medicine

Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 | 6:30pm-8pm
Book: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan
Scientist: Dr. Emily L. Gillepsie, Butler University

Tuesday, March 31, 2020| 6:30pm-8pm
Book: Cyborg Vol. 1: The Imitation of Life (Rebirth) by John Semper and Cyborg Vol. 1: Unplugged by David F. Walker
Guest Expert: Maurice Broaddus, Author, Teacher, and Community Organizer & Dr. Ankur Gupta, Butler University

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | 6:30pm-8pm
Book: Eager: The Surprising Secret Lives of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb
Scientist: Dr. Jennifer Lau, Indiana University

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 6:30pm-8pm
Book: The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
Scientist: Sarah Halter, Indiana Medical History Museum

All events are free and open to the general public; drinks and snacks from Upland Brewing FSQ are available for purchase. Find the book at your nearest library or bookstore and join us! Additional dates, almost always the last Tuesday of the month, and titles will be added in the future. Book club participants can opt to donate their gently used books to Indiana Humanities’ Novel Conversations program following each discussion. 

This Quantum Leap experiment is a partnership between Indiana Humanities, Central Indiana Science Outreach, March for Science Indianapolis and Indiana Sciences.

Is there a book you think we should read? Are you a scientist who’d like to help lead a future session? Contact facilitator Krista Hoffmann-LongtinIUPUI School of Liberal Arts and IU School of Medicine.

If you’re interested in starting a local Books, Booze & Brains chapter outside Indianapolis, contact Leah Nahmias, director of programs and community engagement at Indiana Humanities.

Past Book Discussions: 

Aug. 29, 2107
Book: Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Scientist: Dr. Jason M. Organ, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, IU School of Medicine

Sept. 26, 2017
Book: Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo Naledi and the Discovery that Changed Our Human Story by Lee Berger and John Hawks
Scientist: Dr. Andrew S. Deane, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, IU School of Medicine

Oct. 24, 2017
Book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
Scientist: Meganne Masko, Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI | Watch the Discussion

November 28, 2017
BookBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Scientist: Dr. Bill Sullivan, Professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology, Microbiology and Immunology, IU School of Medicine | Watch the Discussion


January 30, 2018
Book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
ScientistMatt Powers, School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, and George Takahashi, Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, Purdue University | Watch the Discussion 

Febuary 27, 2018 
Book: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Scientist: Kerrie Wilkens-Yel, PhD, School of Education, IU Bloomington | Watch the Discussion

March 27, 2018
Book: Maggots, Murder, and Men: Memories and Reflections from a Forensic Entomologist by Dr. Zakaria Erzinclioglu
Scientist: Christine Picard, PhD, Forensic and Investigative Sciences, IUPUI | Watch the Discussion

April 17, 2018
BookIn the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté
Scientist: Dan Rusyniak, MD, IU School of Medicine | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Book: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Scientist: Robert Pascuzzi, MD, Department of Neurology, IU School of Medicine | Watch the Discussion



Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Book: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee
Scientist: Pat Goodman, Head Animal Curator, Wolf Park | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Book: The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World  by Joel K. Bourne
Scientist: Union of Concerned Scientists | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018
Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Scientist: Mark Keisling, DaVinci Pursuit | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
Book: The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Scientist: Tim McFarlane, Lecturer, Indiana University, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018
Book: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
Scientist: David Wolfe, Biology Instructor, University of Indianapolis | Watch the Discussion


Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 
BookThe Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry
ScientistChad Priest, CEO, American Red Cross—Indiana | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 
Book: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Scientists: Amber Mosley, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, IU School of Medicine
Julia Hum, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Physiology, Marian University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Tabitha M. Hardy, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Student Development and Academic Affairs, IUPUI
Patricia Clark, Ph.D. - Lecturer, IUPUI | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Book: Zero: the Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seifie
Scientist: Richard Patrick Morton, Ph.D., Mathematical Sciences Professor, IUPUI | Part 1 | Part 2

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Book: The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum
Scientist: Guest Pending | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Book: Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light by Lenoard Shlain

Scientist: Jessica Reed, Adjunct Professor, Butler University | Part 1| Part 2



Tuesday, July 30, 2019 
BookBreaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA by Amy Shira Teitel
Scientist: Caitlin Sendley, Purdue University | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019 
BookStuff Matter: Exploring Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
Scientist: Matt Sauers, Roche Diagnostics | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 
BookPleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are by Bill Sullivan
Scientist: Bill Sullivan, Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 
BookDo Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain by Timothy Verstynen
Scientist: Dr. Anne Need, Pearl Pathways, LLC | Watch the Discussion

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 
BookWhen Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua D. Mezrich
Scientist: Jonathan A. Fridell, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine | Watch the Discussion