First Person | Lynn Margulis

Courtesy of Lynn Margulis

Despite being eligible for Social Security, geneticist and symbiogenesis proponent Lynn Margulis prefers doing what 10-year-old boys like to do: hiking, camping, exploring the wilds, reading. "I can't think of any greater punishment than a smoky bar," she says. "I've worked every Saturday night of my life."

This National Medal of Science winner does not sit still. An avid swimmer, she eschews television, because the "discrepancy between what I know is true, and the way it comes across, is so large." For Margulis, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, finding, and disseminating, the truth are passions. What she wants is for protoctists, the organisms she describes as "water neithers"--neither animal nor plant--to attain a proper level of respect in the world of microbiology. "I am so frustrated at the lack of attention given to slime molds, all the algae,...

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