Kingdom of Play

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
Monday, May 06, 2024 WGBH Forum Network webinar

David Toomey, Ph.D., Professor, Department of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst

There is much interest today in the purpose of play. For humans, it is widely considered important for development, but for animals the role of play is less certain. In this fascinating investigation of the imaginative play habits of many species of animals, David Toomey raises the question of the purpose of this behavior, and he explains the major views on the subject.

Dr. Toomey is a professor of English at University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-director of the English Department’s Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program. In addition to his scholarly work, he has written on is a broad range of topics for the general public. His book Weird Life: the Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Own (W.W. Norton, 2013) was long-listed for the 2014 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, shortlisted for Physics World Book of the Year for 2013, and named an “Editor’s Choice” by the New York Times Sunday Book Review. His book The New Time Travelers: a Journey to the Frontiers of Physics (W.W. Norton, 2007) was among ten nonfiction books named “new and notable” by Scientific American in 2007, and listed among the “Best Sci-Tech Books 2007” by Library Journal.

Reviews for Kingdom of Play

Psychology Today (03/2024) Animal Play Is Fun, Fair, Chaotic, and Serious Business
Atlantic Magazine (04/2024) Do Animals Have Fun?
Kirkus Reviews: Kingdom of Play
Book Excerpt (Undark) In Animals, the Thin Line Between Play and Dreaming