Zimmer's books include Soul Made Flesh, a history of the brain, which was named one of the top 100 books of 2004 by The New York Times Book Review, and dubbed a "tour-de-force" by The Sunday Telegraph. His book, Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea-- was called "as fine a book as one will find on the subject" by Scientific American. His other books include At the Water's Edge, a book about major transitions in the history of life; The Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins; and Parasite Rex, which the Los Angeles Times described as "a book capable of changing how we see the world."
Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, was published in 2008 and has just been published in paperback. The Boston Globe called it "superb...quietly revolutionary." It was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize.
This fall, coinciding with the 150th anniverary of the publication of the Origin of Species, Zimmer will be publishing his next book, The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution. Richly illustrated with paintings and photographs, it is the first textbook about evolution intended for non-majors. E.O. Wilson of Harvard praises the book: "The Tangled Bank is the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. It is excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists.”
In addition to writing books, Zimmer contributes articles to the New York Times, as well as magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. He also writes an award-winning blog, The Loom. From 1994 to 1998 Zimmer was a senior editor at Discover, where he remains a contributing editor and writes a monthly column about the brain.
Zimmer is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches writing about science and the environment. He is also the first Visiting Scholar at the Science, Health, and Environment Reporting Program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Zimmer's work has been anthologized in both The Best American Science Writing series and The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. He has won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. His honors include the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Science Journalism Award, the Pan-American Health Organization Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting, the American Institute Biological Sciences Media Award, and the Everett Clark Award for science writing. In 2007 he was awarded the National Academies Science Communication Award for "his diverse and consistently interesting coverage of evolution and unexpected biology."
Zimmer lives in Connecticut with his wife Grace and his children, Charlotte and Veronica.
He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after which a species of tapeworm has been named.