Contributor corner: Alok Jha

Alok Jha.  Passport photo. Photo: Linda NylindAlok Jha is the science correspondent for ITV News. Before that, he did the same job at the Guardian for 11 years and has also presented science programmes for BBC TV and radio. He is the author of two books: How to Live Forever and 34 Other Really Interesting Uses for Science and The Doomsday Handbook: 50 Ways to the End of the World (both published by Quercus in 2013). He is working on a third about the cultural and scientific history of water (to be published by Headline in 2015).

Twitter: @alokjha

What makes Harold Varmus an interesting subject for you?

Varmus has done so much in his working life – winning a Nobel, writing books, arguing for science in Congress and widely on the national stage – and he is still going strong. An hour in his company can't help but make you more informed about the world and more fascinated by the puzzles of human biology at the molecular level.

What struck you most from the interview?

How specifically detailed Varmus' knowledge of the cutting edge of cancer research is. Someone who has contributed as much as he has to science could be forgiven for taking a step back, but Varmus seems to like keeping his hands dirty with strategies, ideas, possible experiments and trials to beat cancer. He seems to have several different full-time jobs, yet still manages to find the time to indulge his deep interest in cycling and playing sports more than many of us with just one job do.

Read Alok's feature on Mosaic from 22 July 2014.