Sunday, 10 January 2010
My Heroes: (23) John Gribbin
The other 22 can be found in my previous blog click here for 1 to 20, here for 21 and here for 22. For me, the science writer John Gribbin has that rare and wonderful gift; the ability to make 'difficult' ideas from science accessable to the non-professional reader. He belongs to a distinguished group of scientists who posess this skill: his fellow British writers Richard Dawkins and Steve Jones and the late Americans Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman. I would like to hear of recommendations of other 'popular science' writers that you may know of. He has published more than 100 books and has written for New Scientist and leading UK newspapers and the BBC. His best-known book is In Search of Schrödinger's Cat (1984)which tackles the elusive subject of quantum theory. Richard Feynman had once said that anyone who thought he understood quantum physics "did not understand quantum physics". In other words it cannot be understood! Grisham helped me get beyond that point but it is the most dangerous assumption to make. My favourite of his books is The Birth of Time: How We Measured the Age of The Universe (1999) which tells a fascinating story and explains the importance of Hubbles Constant. According to Wikipedia, his book, Get a Grip on Physics (2003), saw a sudden surge in sales at Amazon.com after it was spotted in the pictures of Tiger Wood's crashed car on November 27, 2009.