Richard Preston graduated summa cum laude from Pomona College in California and received a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. He began his career as a journalist writing for the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler and Blair & Ketchum's Country Journal. He has also been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1985. One of Preston's earlier novels, "First Light," was a book on astronomy that won him the American Institute of Physics Award, and he has an asteroid the size of Mount Everest named after him. He also wrote "The Hot Zone," which is a true story about an outbreak of the Ebola virus near Washington, D.C. and inspired the movie Outbreak that starred Dustin Hoffman. "The Cobra Event" is a thriller about biological weapons and terrorism. He spent three years researching biological weapons and his sources included high-ranking government officials, and the scientists who invented and tested these weapons. The story tells of a medical doctor who works with the FBI to stop an act of bio-terrorism in New York City. Preston is now considered an expert in the areas of disease and biotechnology; and the FBI and President Clinton, in regards to disease and bio-warfare, have sought out his opinion. Preston has won several awards that include the McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Overseas Press Club of America's Whitman Basso Award for the best reporting in any medium on environmental issues for "The Hot Zone." His title Micro with Michael Crichton made the New York Times Best Seller list for 2011.