Mark Bowen Author Photo By Bob Taylor

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Mark Bowen is a writer, scientist, (former) climber, and photographer. He grew up in suburban Westchester County, near New York City. His main interest in high school was acting—especially in modern plays.

In his early twenties (for reasons he still doesn't quite understand, as he had shown no previous interest in science), he decided to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he went on to earn a bachelor's degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1985, both in physics. Then he worked in the medical industry for about twelve years, developing optical instruments and ophthalmic pharmaceuticals.

Mark has always had a love for the great outdoors—his family owns a summer home in Maine—and he has hiked, canoed, and camped out for about as long as he can remember. He took up rock climbing in his mid-twenties, and, for the next twenty-five years, spent virtually all his free time climbing rock, ice, or both on most of the major crags, cliffs, and mountain ranges of North America, with a close and expanding group of friends. In the 1990s, he began traveling to remote international destinations with his good friend, the legendary British mountaineer Doug Scott. These trips resulted in his first magazine articles in Climbing. They also prompted him to begin a practice of sitting meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He had been introduced to Zen in a high school English class in 1970, but it wasn't until he joined Scott on a mountaineering expedition to the formerly Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim, almost thirty years later, that he made the transition from book reading to actual meditation practice.

Mark's three main interests—writing, climbing, and science—all came together in 1997, when Natural History sent him to the top of the highest mountain in Bolivia to write an article about climatologist Lonnie Thompson, who was drilling ice cores on the mountain's summit at the time. This life-changing experience opened his mind to the clear and present danger of global warming. After completing the article, he spent five years researching and writing a book about Thompson, and joining him on two drilling expeditions to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Thin Ice was published in 2005. It led naturally to a second book, Censoring Science, about NASA climatologist James Hansen, which was released in December 2007.

The publication of Censoring Science took place at a transitional time in Mark's life. (This blog entry gives some of the reasons why.) Although he maintains an interest in climate change and keeps up with developments, it is no longer his main subject of interest. In 2009, after living for more than thirty years in the Boston area, he moved to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with his girlfriend, Wendy Stein. In this more elemental environment, he continues to write, contemplate, and live and work on the land. He is presently engaged three very different writing projects.

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Mark Bowen Author Photo100 By Bob Taylor
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Mark Bowen’s author photo
(© Bob Taylor)

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the jacket image
for Thin Ice

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the jacket image
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