Philip Ball - Science writer

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Philip Ball - Science writer

'One of our most versatile and gripping science writers.' John Carey


A Short Biography - Philip Ball

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Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He worked previously at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences (for which his brief extended from biochemistry to quantum physics and materials science) and then as a Consultant Editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.

Philip is the author of many popular books on science, including works on the nature of water, pattern formation in the natural world, colour in art, the science of social and political philosophy, the cognition of music, and physics in Nazi Germany. He has written widely on the interactions between art and science, and has delivered lectures to scientific and general audiences at venues ranging from the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) to the NASA Ames Research Center and the London School of Economics.

Philip continues to write regularly for Nature. He has contributed to publications ranging from New Scientist to the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times and New Statesman. He is a regular contributor to Prospect magazine (for which he writes a science blog), and also a columnist for Chemistry World, Nature Materials, BBC Future and the Italian science magazine Sapere. He has broadcast on many occasions on radio and TV, and in June 2004 he presented a three-part serial on nanotechnology, 'Small Worlds', on BBC Radio 4. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and sits on the editorial board of Chemistry World, a member of the advisory council for the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University, and a board member of the RESOLV network on solvation science at the Ruhr University of Bochum.

Philip has a BA in Chemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Physics from the University of Bristol.



28 May
"Serving the Reich"

Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Details to come here.















Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler

Published by Bodley Head, 2013.

In January 1940, the Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate Peter Debye, formerly one of the leading physicists in Hitler’s Germany, sailed from Genoa to the United States. The official story was that he was taking a leave of absence from directing the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin in order to deliver a series of lectures at Cornell University. In fact Debye never returned to Germany, but settled in America and contributed to the Allied war effort against the country in which he had worked for most of his life.



"Crowd-sourcing: Strength in Numbers", Nature 506, 422-423 (26 February 2014)