Mary Roach is a columnist and popular science writer. Raised in Etna, New Hampshire, she holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Wesleyan University and currently resides in San Francisco, California. To date, she has published four books: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005) (published in some markets as Adventures in the Afterlife), The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008) and Packing for Mars (2010).
She began her writing career at the San Francisco Zoological Society, producing press releases on such topics as elephant wart surgery. In 1986, she sold a humor piece about the IRS to the San Francisco Chronicle. That led to a spate of humorous first-person essays for such publications as Sports Illustrated, Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Outside, Reader's Digest (for whom she wrote a monthly humor column) and GQ. She appeared on The Colbert Report, a satirical news program, in November 2005.
Roach's work has a serious edge, as well. Her book, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, was selected for Washington State University's Common Reading Program in 2008-09.
Roach appeared on The Daily Show on August 2, 2010 to discuss her newest book Packing for Mars.