Selected Podcast

Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey

Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
When her twenty-five-year marriage unexpectedly falls apart, journalist Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll end up in the hospital, examining close-up the way our cells listen to loneliness. In her latest book, she travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.

Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, Williams tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks in a laboratory while looking at pictures of her ex, and ventures to the wilderness in search of awe as an antidote to loneliness. 

Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey is a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery that will change the way we think about loneliness, health, and what it means to fall in and out of love.
Featured Speaker:
Florence Williams
Florence Williams is a journalist, author, and podcaster. She is a contributing editor
at Outside Magazine and a freelance writer for the New York Times, New York Times
Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, Slate, Mother Jones, and
numerous other publications. She is also the writer and host of two Gracie-Award-winning
Audible Original series, Breasts Unbound and The Three-Day Effect, as well as Outside
Magazine’s Double-X Factor podcast. Her public speaking includes keynotes at Google, the
Smithsonian, the Seattle Zoo, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and many other corporate, academic, and nonprofit venues. A fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature and a visiting scholar at George Washington University, her work focuses on the environment, health, and science.

Florence’s first book, BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History (W.W. Norton 2012)
received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in science and technology and the 2013 Audie in
general nonfiction. It was also named a notable book of 2012 by the New York Times. Her
most recent book, The Nature Fix, was an Audible bestseller and was named a top summer
read by J.P Morgan. Florence was named “Author of the week” by The Week in May, 2012.
The Wall Street Journal calls her writing “droll and crisp,” which makes her feel like a

In 2007-2008, Florence was a Scripps Fellow at the Center of Environmental Journalism at
the University of Colorado. She has received many awards, including two National
Magazine Award nominations, six magazine awards from the American Society of
Journalists and Authors, and the John Hersey Prize at Yale. Her work has been anthologized
in numerous books, including Outside 25, the New Montana Story, How the West Was
Warmed and Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008. Florence serves on the
board of two of her favorite non-profits, the Trust for Public Land and the Ted Scripps
Fellowship in Environmental Journalism. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.