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The Leechman Cometh

ByTom MillerThe Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

Click here for Mark’s profile.

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.).

The Leechman Cometh-leech_300p.jpg
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…

Original funding for "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.