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about the book

David Plotz first heard about the Repository for Germinal Choice--the "Nobel Prize sperm bank"--in 1980, when he was 10 years old. More than 20 years later, Plotz came across the bank again while researching William Shockley, a Nobel laureate who was also a donor to the Repository. Plotz had recently become a father himself, and he soon found himself obsessed with the fate of the more than 200 children born from the Nobel sperm bank. In 2001, he wrote a series about the sperm bank for titled "Seed." (Read the introduction to "Seed," which links to the entire series, here.) Over the next three years, David continued reporting on the bank and searching for its children. That investigation inspired The Genius Factory.

David is deputy editor of Slate, where he has worked since it launched in 1996. At Slate, he's been a feature writer, political columnist, media columnist, and gofer, among lots of different jobs. He has also freelanced for many magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Reader's Digest, Rolling Stone, New Republic, Washington Post, and GQ. He won the National Press Club's Hume Award for Political Reporting in 2000 for a Harper's article about South Carolina's gambling industry. That piece was also a National Magazine Award Finalist. He won an Online Journalism Award in 2002 for a Slate piece on Enron, and was an OJA finalist for the Seed series in 2001.

Before coming to Slate, David was a writer and editor at the Washington City Paper, D.C.'s free weekly, where he covered local politics. He also worked briefly (and miserably) as a paralegal at the U.S. Department of Justice, learning that he really didn't want to go to law school.

David grew up in Washington, D.C., the child of Judith Plotz, an English professor at George Washington University, and Paul Plotz, a doctor and researcher at the National Institutes of Health. He attended Lafayette Elementary School and went to high school at St. Albans. He graduated from Harvard College in 1992 with a degree in Social Studies.

He is married to Hanna Rosin, a reporter for the Washington Post. They live in Washington, D.C., with their two children. The Genius Factory is David's first book.

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