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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Faculty Profiles: David Toomey

Contact Information:

481 Bartlett Hall
Amherst, MA 0l003
p: 413-545-5519
f: 413-545-3880


David Toomey is a Professor of English and Director of the Program for Professional Writing and Technical Communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.He regularly teaches Introduction to Professional Writing, Advanced Software for Professional Writers, Nonfiction Writing, Early British Literature and Culture and Bible, Myth and Culture. In recent years he has directed the graduate seminars Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Literary Culture, Cosmological Revolutions and 17th and 18th Century British Literature and The Bible and Literature.

Toomey holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Virginia (1998), where his dissertation was Dreams of Different Things: The Experience of Schizophrenia as Represented in Journals, Clinical Accounts and Fiction of the Modernist Period.

His research interests are science writing and mental illness and literature. His most recent book is Weird Life: the search for life that is very, very different from our own (W.W. Norton, 2013) Other books include: The New Time Travelers: a Journey to the Frontiers of Physics (W.W. Norton, 2007), Stormchasers: the Hurricane Hunters and their Flight into Hurricane Janet (W.W. Norton, 2002), and (with Leslie Haynsworth) Amelia Earhart's Daughters: the Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age (William Morrow, 1998) and (as second author with James Collier) Scientific and Technical Communication in Theory, Practice and Policy (Sage Publications, 1997).

Areas of Specialization: Nonfiction Writing, Professional Writing & Technical Communication