Camilla Pang, by her own admission, was not a typical child. She thought about friendships in terms of computer code and read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time at the age of eight. That same year she was diagnosed as autistic, and later with ADHD and generalised anxiety disorder.
Pang, now a scientist in bioinformatics at University College London, did not have an easy time fitting in at school. And this feeling of social alienation is where her book, Explaining Humans, begins. “It was five years into my life on Earth that I started to think I’d landed in the wrong place,” she writes. “I felt a stranger within my own species: someone who understood the words but couldn’t speak the language.”