Jeff Wise is a science writer and author of Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger. A contributing editor at Popular Mechanics and Travel + Leisure, he’s also written for Time, Businessweek, The New York Times, New York, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, and many others.
A lifelong science enthusiast, he majored in evolutionary biology at Harvard, where studied with noted ethologist Bert Holldobler and ichthyologist Karel Liem. In his subsequent 25-year writing career, Wise’s brief expanded to include adventure, technology, and psychology. For nine years he wrote Popular Mechanics’ “I’ll Try Anything” column, which required him to pilot a Zeppelin, scuba dive under Arctic ice, endure wilderness survival training, fly loops in a WWII fighter plane, explore the endless dark of the deep ocean, drive a tank over a Ford sedan, and spend the night in an igloo he built himself.
In 2009 he published Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, a book that explores this powerful emotion through a mixture of neuroscience and real-life narrative. Fear, Wise argues, is something that we all have to deal with every day; understanding the brain circuits that help a hiker survive a mountain lion attack can also help us deal with day-to-day crises like public speaking and workplace confrontations.
Since Extreme Fear’s publication Wise has moonlighted as a television presenter, appearing on shows for History, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and others. Last summer he was a consulting producer and presenter on the four-part History miniseries “Your Bleeped Up Brain.”
His blog posts for Slate, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Popular Mechanics, Men’s Journal and Psychology Today have collectively received more than five million page views. His Popular Mechanics story about the doomed airliner Air France 447 was chosen as one of the 10 Best Longreads of 2011 by Longreads.com. In 2012 he broke the news on Gizmodo that tech guru-turned-fugitive John McAfee was wanted for murder, a story that triggered an international media furor. Wise’s Popular Mechanics story “How Not to Die” was named one of NextIssue’s 32 favorite stories of 2013.
He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. In his spare time flies small airplanes and gliders.