Nuclear medicine expert's mystery novel fuses science and fiction

San Francisco resident Jerold Lowenstein, a professor and nuclear medicine expert, provides in his newly released book, “The Dark X,” an adventurous tale of two scientists studying wildlife in Central Africa, all the while fusing actual science and fiction in this mystery novel.

How long have you conducted research in Africa? I’ve made 10 trips to Africa. I spent about a week with Jane Goodall studying gorillas in Rwanda. All told, I’d say I’ve probably spent a couple of months in the field studying apes, monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas.

What motivated you to write this work of fiction? I’ve been writing popular science for many, many years [about 100 articles]. I thought that fiction would give me a little bit more scope about the characters involved in scientific research.

There is a section of the book where a woman scientist fights a lion that she had adopted years ago and the lion ends up playing with her. How real is this? It’s all based on real science. I’ve put a lot about animal behavior in this book.

What has been the general reaction to your book? The term people have used is that it’s a “page-turner.” I don’t think they expected to like it as much as they did [laughs].

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