Marcus Chown - home page

Short-listed for 2010 Royal Society Science Book Prize
& winner Best App at 2011 FutureBook Digital Innovation Awards





Marcus is doing a blog tour for his new book - click on above icon for schedule


Some of Marcus's recent (hopefully fun) articles & interviews


Some videos of Marcus



"Marcus Chown rocks!"

Brian May, Queen


"Surprisingly good comic delivery for a science writer"

God Knows What... Blog



"Smartest, sexiest silver fox award"

Christchurch Libraries, NZ




Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer

at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is now cosmology

consultant of the weekly science magazine New Scientist.



MY NEW BOOK!

Click on cover image to buy or order

Click on above image for rocket-fuelled baby animation

Click on above image for montage to music of What A Wonderful World



MY FIRST iPad APP

Winner of Best App at the 2011 FutureBook Digital Innovation Awards

Click on image to go to iTunes


... AND THE BOOK OF THE APP

Click on cover image to buy or order




MY FIRST CHILDREN'S BOOK

Click on image to buy or order

Click here for more information


"A thrilling, silly escapade among the stars."

The Scotsman (5 August 2008)

"One of the books most likely to fire children's imaginations."

The Sunday Times (30 June 2008)




To buy one of the following books, click on a cover image

UK EDITIONS

Tweeting the Universe

Life, the Universe and everything... in tweets. "Ridiculous but ingenious, and wholly successful.." (The Spectator) [More reviews] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What Everyday Things Tell Us About the Universe

Look around you. Clues to the nature of the fundamental reality that underpins the everyday world are all about. The reflection of your face in a window is telling you that the universe at its deepest level is orchestrated by chance. The iron in a spot of blood on your finger is telling you that somewhere out in space there is furnace at a temperature of 4.5 billion degrees. Your TV tuned between the stations is telling you the Universe had a beginning. In fact, your very existence is telling you that this may not be the only universe but merely one among an infinity of others, stacked like the pages of a never-ending book. I take familiar features of the mundane world and show, how in the light of our current scientific knowledge, they tell us profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. He shows how to read the cosmic signs in the everyday world. Or, in the words of William Blake, to “see a world in a grain of sand”. Or a falling leaf or a rose or a starry night sky… "This book will literally change the way you see the world." (Bookhugger) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe

After reading countless books claiming to explain quantum theory and relativity to "dummies" - and ending up baffled! - I thought "There's got to be a better way". As Einstein said: "Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." I was convinced he was right - so I wrote this book. Learn how the entire human race could fit in the volume of a sugar cube; how every breath you take contains an atom breathed out by Marilyn Monroe; how 1% of the static on a TV tuned between the stations is from the big bang. "Weird, sexy and mind-blowing." (Nature) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead: Dispatches from the Front Line of Science

What happened before the big bang? What's beyond the edge of the Universe? What is the origin of the complexity of biology? Why do we experience a 'present'? Can life survive forever in the Universe? Find the answers to these ultimate questions and more, learn how the big bang may have been spawned by a collision between 'island universes'; how all of us might be resurrected in a computer simulation at the end of time; how a single remarkable number contains the answer to every question we could ever ask; how the most widely accepted theory of the Universe's origin implies Elvis is alive and well and living in another space domain (in fact, an infinite number of other space domains!); how a computer program a mere 4 lines long could be generating everything. "A limousine among popular-science vehicles." (The Guardian) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter] [Interview in Metro] [Article in Dazed & Confused]

Afterglow of Creation: From the fireball to the discovery of cosmic ripples

The very human story of the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the fading afterglow of the Big Bang in which the Universe was born 12 to 14 billion years ago. Incredibly, it still permeates all of space, the oldest fossil in Creation, carrying with it a unique snapshot of the Universe as it was a mere 300,000 years after its fiery birth. "Beautiful science, beautifully told" (The Australian) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

The Universe Next Door: Twelve mind-blowing ideas from the cutting edge of science

Can time run backwards? Are there an infinity of realities stacked together like the pages of a never-ending book? Was our Universe created by superior beings in another Universe? These are just a few of the mind-blowing questions addressed in The Universe Next Door. "An exuberant book. A parallel universe where science is actually fun." (The Independent) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

 

The Magic Furnace: The quest for the origin of atoms

One of the great untold stories of science: how we discovered the origin of atoms and found, to everyone's astonishment, that we are far more intimately connected to the stars than anyone ever guessed - literally, stardust made flesh. The Magic Furnace brings cosmology down to earth, connecting the very small and close to home - the atoms in our bodies - to the very big and far away - the Universe with its galaxies and stars. "A giddy page-turner" (The Daily Mail) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

[Return to beginning]




US EDITIONS

The Matchbox That Ate A Forty-Ton Truck: What Everyday Things Tell Us About The Universe

Look around you. Clues to the nature of the fundamental reality that underpins the everyday world are all about. The reflection of your face in a window is telling you that the universe at its deepest level is orchestrated by chance. The iron in a spot of blood on your finger is telling you that somewhere out in space there is furnace at a temperature of 4.5 billion degrees. Your TV tuned between the stations is telling you the Universe had a beginning. In fact, your very existence is telling you that this may not be the only universe but merely one among an infinity of others, stacked like the pages of a never-ending book. I take familiar features of the mundane world and show, how in the light of our current scientific knowledge, they tell us profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. He shows how to read the cosmic signs in the everyday world. Or, in the words of William Blake, to “see a world in a grain of sand”. Or a falling leaf or a rose or a starry night sky… "This book will literally change the way you see the world." (Bookhugger) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

The Quantum Zoo: A Tourist's Guide to the Neverending Universe

Look around you. Clues to the nature of the fundamental reality that underpins the everyday world are all about. The reflection of your face in a window is telling you that the universe at its deepest level is orchestrated by chance. The iron in a spot of blood on your finger is telling you that somewhere out in space there is furnace at a temperature of 4.5 billion degrees. Your TV tuned between the stations is telling you the Universe had a beginning. In fact, your very existence is telling you that this may not be the only universe but merely one among an infinity of others, stacked like the pages of a never-ending book. I take familiar features of the mundane world and show, how in the light of our current scientific knowledge, they tell us profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. He shows how to read the cosmic signs in the everyday world. Or, in the words of William Blake, to “see a world in a grain of sand”. Or a falling leaf or a rose or a starry night sky… "This book will literally change the way you see the world." (Bookhugger) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

The Universe Next Door: The Making of Tomorrow's Science

Can time run backwards? Are there an infinity of realities stacked together like the pages of a never-ending book? Was our Universe created by superior beings in another Universe? These are just a few of the mind-blowing questions addressed in The Universe Next Door. "For sheer intellectual exhilaration, few books offer more." (Booklist) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

 

The Magic Furnace: The Quest for the Origin of Atoms

One of the great untold stories of science: how we discovered the origin of atoms and found, to everyone's astonishment, that we are far more intimately connected to the stars than anyone ever guessed - literally, stardust made flesh. The Magic Furnace brings cosmology down to earth, connecting the very small and close to home - the atoms in our bodies - to the very big and far away - the Universe with its galaxies and stars. "The work of a literary alchemist who transmutes the iron of complexity into the gold of lucidity" (The Tennessean) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

Afterglow of Creation: From the Fireball to the Discovery of Cosmic Ripples

The very human story of the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the fading afterglow of the Big Bang in which the Universe was born 12 to 14 billion years ago. Incredibly, it still permeates all of space, the oldest fossil in Creation, carrying with it a unique snapshot of the Universe as it was a mere 300,000 years after its fiery birth. "A wonderful story, brilliantly told" (The Science Teacher) [More reviews] [Contents] [Foreword] [Sample chapter]

[Return to beginning]




"Finest cosmology writer of our day"

Matt Ridley

(Author of Genome)





COOL COSMOLOGY


SuperKamiokande, Japan

The Sun as you've never seen it before: This picture was taken at night! It was taken looking down through the Earth!
And it was taken not with light but with neutrinos! Neutrinos are ghostly subatomic particles produced as a
byproduct of the nuclear reactions that that generate sunlight in the heart of the Sun . Whereas light
takes about 30,000 years to work its way from the centre of the Sun to the surface,
neutrinos take about 2 seconds. Eight minutes later they arrive
on Earth. So neutrinos show us what is
happening in the Sun now





COOL WEBSITES


*** One of my proudest claims to fame is that I am a spaceship in the novel Echoes of Earth by Sean Williams and Shane Dix. Don't ask me why! I was also in bed with Sheila Hancock and Timothy West in the BBC comedy-drama Bedtime, written by Andy Hamilton, creator of Have I Got News for You? When I say, in bed, I mean my book, The Universe Next Door, was in bed. Hancock's character was a reader of popular science books. The Universe Next Door is even being promoted in the future! In a story in the September 2005 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, a character from the year 2032 gets out his battered old copy of the book and calls me “The best science writer there ever was.” - which is very nice! (Generations by Fred Pohl).

*** Fancy listening out for extraterestrial signals from your back garden? Why not join the SETI League , an international band of radio and radio astronomy enthusiasts, dreaming of the day when one of them will catch ET phoning Earth.

*** One of the most imaginative and brilliant mathematicains in the world is IBM's Gregory Chaitin . He started an entire field of mathematics at 15 and discovered Omega, a number which would take an infinitely long computer program to generate.

*** Omega may be uncomputable but one man has computed the uncomputable. His name is Cristian Calude , and he has calculated the first 64 bits of Omega. Omega is like a sacred text. Its first few thousand bits contain the answers to more mathematical questions than can be written down in the entire universe.





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Marcus Chown last updated this on 11 Februray 2014.