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The Leechman Cometh

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The first of 16 scientists we interviewed for this season of “The Secret Life of Scientists” was Mark Siddall. And we all knew he was bringing them, but when Mark walked onto our set with two jars filled with leeches, most of us were still pretty grossed out. Our associate producer Laura may have, in fact, had an aneurysm (we’ll know for sure when the test results come back–best of luck, Laura!). So why do leeches give so many people the willies? After all, vampires suck your blood too, but people love them (see “Twilight,” “True Blood,” etc.).

This one’s pretty, isn’t it? (Courtesy Mark Siddall)

Well, it turns out that the cure for bdellophobia (fear of leeches) is to spend some quality time with “The Leechman.” Mark Siddall loves leeches so much that he actually kind of makes you love them too. On our set, Mark took his leeches out of their jars and let them slither about all over his arms and hands. When our gasps subsided, we had to admit to being impressed by the way Mark embraces leeches (in this case, literally) and all of nature. As he said to us…

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Tom Miller

    Tom Miller is the producer of “Secret Life” and co-editor of the site’s blog. His job involves interviewing scientists and engineers, getting them to tell their amazing stories and occasionally trying to get them to sing. It’s a fantastic gig and Tom is extremely grateful for it.