Posts Tagged ‘Brian Clegg’

The evening before last (Tuesday the 1st of March) I was on the programme Science Cafe on BBC Radio Wales talking about 10 Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of the Universe, the book I co-wrote with Brian Clegg. I was interviewed by Adam Walton, who presents this weekly science programme. We discussed how the book came about and then ran through the 10 physicists in the list. You can listen to the programme via the BBC iPlayer by following this link (it will be available on the iPlayer until the end of March; it will also be re-broadcast on Radio Wales on Sunday 6th March at 6:30am GMT)


I discussed our book 10 Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of Reality on BBC Radio Wales’ weekly science programme Science Cafe. The book was co-written with Brian Clegg

As you can see from the screen capture above, the ten in the list (it is not our list, it was taken from The Observer newspaper) are

  1. Isaac Newton
  2. Niels Bohr
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Albert Einstein
  5. James Clerk Maxwell
  6. Michael Faraday
  7. Marie Curie
  8. Richard Feynman
  9. Ernest Rutherford
  10. Paul Dirac

Thirty minutes was not enough to talk in any detail about any of the ten, but I hope it gave the listeners a nice taster of the fascinating characters whom we write about in each chapter. The book has been available since early December. You can order a copy by following this link if you are in the UK, and this link if you are in the US.

At the BBC studios in Cardiff recording this interview for Science Cafe

I am currently in Namibia (see my blog from Tuesday), and recorded the interview in the few days between getting back from a 3-week trip to the USA and leaving to give talks on a cruise in South America. The broadcast of the interview was delayed a little as Science Cafe had recently done a programme about antimatter, and as Paul Dirac is one of the physicists in the list the producers decided to leave a few weeks pass before its broadcast.

Last night (Wednesday the 2nd of March) I gave a talk about ‘the oldest light in the Universe’ (the Cosmic Microwave Background – the subject of another of my books) to the Swakopmund Scientific Society here in Swakopmund (Namibia). I will give a summary of that talk next week when I am back in Cardiff.

You can also find out more about 10 Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of the Universe by following this link.


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Although I will restate it on Thursday, I am not going to be able to post the last part of my series about the derivation of Planck’s radiation law this week as planned. It is taking me too much time, and so I will post it instead on Thursday the 17th. It is nearly finished; honest!

One of the reasons I don’t have as much time to write it as I would wish is that I am writing articles for a book called ’30-second Einstein’, which Ivy Press will be publishing next year (2016). The book is part of their series of ’30-second + subject’, and I have already contributed to their ’30-second physics’ volume, which is due out in March of 2016. For more information about the articles I wrote for ’30-second Physics’, follow this link.

Albert Einstein, before his hair went white and crazy :)

Albert Einstein, before his hair went white and crazy 🙂

As with ’30-second Physics’; ’30-second Einstein’ is being edited by Brian Clegg, and I am writing 16 of the 50-odd articles which will appear in the book. There are about five or six of us contributing to the book.

The articles I am writing are

  • Bose-Einstein statistics
  • Biography – Satyendra Bose
  • Photolectric quanta
  • Stimulated emission of radiation
  • Biography – Max Planck
  • Dreaming about light (floating alongside a sunbeam)
  • On the electrodynamics of moving bodies
  • Simultaneity
  • Length, time and mass
  • Spacetime
  • Biography – Hermann Minkowski
  • E=mc^{2}
  • Heavy clocks
  • Gravitational lenses
  • The cosmological constant
  • Expanding universes

The concept of the books is quite interesting; each topic needs to be explained in about 300 words, which believe me is quite a challenge. This is sufficiently few words that every one counts, and usually I find my initial draft(s) are 450 words or more, so then I have to edit them down making sure I don’t lose the explanation in the process.

Anyway, look out for this book in the next year or so, as soon as it is available I will post a link to it on this blog. In the meantime, check out the other books in the ’30-second’ series (there is a link to the series on this page), I haven’t contributed to any of them but many of them look interesting (and I have downloaded a few and enjoyed them greatly).

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