Pandemics of the Future and Today

Richard Preston
Thursday, June 17, 2021
6:30 pm

If, indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic is waning in the United States, the questions and concerns around it have not. Where do dangerous new viruses like Ebola and COVID come from, and how do they attack the human species? Could this one have emerged from a Chinese laboratory? How does an outbreak mushroom into a pandemic? Could we see more in our lifetime? Can we protect ourselves? 

Bestselling author Richard Preston, whose illuminating reporting and writing on Ebola became the basis for the National Geographic hit television series The Hot Zone in 2018, explores those issues and provides some answers. 

Preston, a contributor to The New Yorker and the author of 10 books, both nonfiction and fiction, is one of the most distinguished science writers of our time. In 1994’s The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus, he reconstructed the terrifying details of an Ebola outbreak among monkeys at a laboratory in suburban Virginia in 1989-90 – a crisis dramatized in the National Geographic TV series. He is a recipient of the American Institute of Physics’ Science Communication Award and a National Magazine Award for public service writing, among other honors, and is the only non-physician bestowed the Centers for Disease Control’s Champion of Prevention Award. 

The asteroid 3792 Preston, orbiting primarily near Mars and Jupiter, is named for him. 

Watch Preston’s presentation live online at