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John Gribbin - Four Way Interview

John Gribbin was described as 'one of the finest and most prolific writers of popular science around' by the Spectator. John gained a PhD from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge (then under the leadership of Fred Hoyle) before working as a science journalist for Nature and later New Scientist. He is the author of a number of bestselling popular science books, including In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, In Search of the Multiverse, Science: A History and Computing with Quantum Cats. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex. His latest title is Six Impossible Things.

Why science?

 I grew up wanting to be a science fiction writer, inspired by Astounding magazine and the works of Arthur Clarke and Isaac Asimov.  When I realised there was no chance of making a living this way, I turned to science fact.  But I have always been especially interested in science fact that sounds like science fiction.

Why this book?

This book (Six Impossible Things) is to some extent the culmination of my fascination with non-common-sensical science fact.  Nothing is more non-common-sensical than quantum physics, and my aim is to highlight the ludicrous nature of the 'explanations' put forward to account for the way the quantum world works.  If you are baffled by the book, I have succeeded.

What's next?

Next book is a collaboration with my wife, Mary, on the historical development of the idea of evolution.  Interpreting history is easier than interpreting quantum mechanics.

What's exciting you at the moment?

Apart from my own writing, the science which I am most excited about now is gravitational wave astronomy, which is opening up our understanding of the Universe the way X-ray astronomy did when I was a student.  I did make a modest attempt to fill in the background, but the field is developing much too fast for me to contemplate a full-length book on the subject.


  1. Dr. Gribbin is the absolute best writer I know. I look forward to his next project!

  2. John Gribbin gets his facts right in his work, which is the most important thing when you are writing a popular science book! His work is exceptional and inspiring.


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