My favourite novelist is John Irving. Many of his main characters do not live in their country of birth. These characters always feel "other" and unable to connect with a homeland, adopted or native. I think this is a feeling that many scientists experience. I have felt this tension too: my adopted home is the US (where I am defined as a Canadian), but my native home is Canada (where my family and friends think of me as American after living here for more than a decade).

I love all of John Irving's novels, but “A Son of the Circus" is my absolute favourite. It flies under the radar compared to his more famous novels (The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Cider House Rules, etc). The main character, Farrokh Daruwalla, is doctor who lives in Toronto (in the neighbourhood I went to middle school in!). He also moonlights as a screenwriter in his native India! On top of the weighty theme of exisiting without a homeland, there is enough murder, sex, and mystery to keep anyone engaged. And scientists will enjoy the explanations of achondroplasia genetics! son of the circus

James Fraser's lab studies how proteins move between different shapes as they perform the work they do in cells - currently they are trying to fire tiny protein crystals out of a jet so that they can use the world's most powerful X-ray laser to watch how the protein moves as it is heated up with microwaves.