Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Brian Clegg – Four Way Interview

Brian Clegg is the editor of the Popular Science website and has written books on subjects including light, infinity, quantum entanglement, inflight science and time machines. His latest titles are The Universe Inside You, exploring science using the human body and Gravity on the force that shaped the universe.
Why science?
Science fascinated me as a child and I’ve never lost that sense of wonder. For me it’s a no-brainer of a question: I’d almost rather ask ‘why not science?’ This is a subject everyone should be fascinated by – for goodness sake, it’s how our world, our universe (and us) works – and presented right, I believe science can excite anyone.
Why these books?
They’re very different. The Universe Inside You is a follow up to Inflight Science. Like that book I wanted to use something familiar as a starting point to thinking about the science of the world around us. With Inflight Science that starting point was a plane flight, and with Universe Inside it’s our bodies – arguably the most remarkable things in the universe. So, yes it’s about our bodies but it is also much more, using the body as a starting point and laboratory to explore the universe. You can see a bit more about it in the video below.
Gravity is, if you like, a more traditional book – looking back through history to explore humanity’s gradual understanding of gravity. It’s something we take for granted, yet it’s responsible for so much of the formation of the universe – not to mention keeping us stuck on the surface of the planet. For me the most fascinating bits are Einstein’s general relativity, which I think I’ve explored more thoroughly than is usually the case in popular science, but still kept it approachable, and anti-gravity, which is great fun as a topic.
What’s next?
I have a couple of books in the pipeline. I’m doing one of the little pocket illustrated books in the Introducing series, which has been brilliant to do, working with an excellent illustrator (I even make it into the illustrations). And I’m well into my next book for St Martin’s Press, which will be exploring telepathy, telekinesis and the like and seeing if there is any possible scientific explanation or if it’s all bunk.
What’s exciting you at the moment?
Writing as always, and pathetic though it may seem I’m still thrilled with my new iMac which has really transformed my day-to-day experience sitting in front of a computer screen. I’m also really enjoying converting the Popular Science site into its new, more accessible format.

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