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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins (and what they teach us about human nature)

Dr. Nancy Segal

In this lecture based on her new book, Dr. Nancy Segal, a leading expert on twins, goes deep into the stories behind her research to reveal the real-life dilemmas and joys of twelve remarkable sets of twins, triplets, and quadruplets. She introduces us to memorable people, from the “Fireman Twins” brothers reared apart but astonishingly alike in personality and even minor habits, and the twin sisters who overcome one’s infertility by having the other serve as her surrogate mother. We meet twin sisters who became one of the few identical brother-sister pairs in the world after one was surgically transformed into a man, and identical triplet brothers, one of whom is gay while the other two are straight.

Dr. Segal, Distinguished Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton, tells these stories and others with an eye for the challenges that life as a twin (or triplet or quadruplet) can bring to parents, friends, and spouses, as well as to twins themselves. These real-life stories remind us how incompletely any theory explains the variety of individual, or dual, or triple, or quadruple, lives.

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