Peter Atkins writes a sentence at the beginning of this bewildering book that seems both preposterous and cheeky: ‘I would like to assert that not much happened at the Creation.’ And t More
Robyn Williams reviews 'Radio Astronomer: John Bolton and a new window on the universe' by Peter Robertson
What shocks me, as I consider this important new book, is how completely John Bolton has disappeared from the public mind. Just consider, he pioneered extragalactic radio astronomy, built two superb radio telescopes, was worthy of a Nobel Prize, hired or mentored a generation of top scientists – and was played by Sam Neill in the film The Dish (2000). Nei ... More
Ashley Hay reviews 'In Love with Betty the Crow: The first 40 years of ABC RN's 'The Science Show'' by Robyn Williams
When David Attenborough's memoir Life on Air was published in 2002, the magazine I worked for arranged for me to interview him. By then I had been interviewing people for a while and thought myself quite unflusterable. I keyed in the number, listened to the dial tone. And then it was as if the call had been answered by God (interesting, as an atheist). My r ... More
To complement the essays, commentaries, reviews, and photographic essay in this issue, we asked a group of leading environmentalists, scientists, commentators, and writers what they regard as the most urgent action needed for environmental reform.
There is an urgent need for widespread recognition of the interrelationship between the ... More
I must let you into a secret. I have three different ways of reading books: lightning fast, with serene attention; and, as with Smashing Physics, postmodern.
The fast mode is forced by unavoidable professional requirements. This week, for example, I received a (thankfully) slim volume just hours before having to record a satellite interview wit ... More
ABR Radio National’s Robyn Williams reviews Thomas Suddendorf’s important new study of the science that separates human beings from animals.More
ABR Radio National’s Robyn Williams reviews Stephen Hawking’s memoirs and recalls his two interviews with the remarkable and remarkably long-lived author–scientist.More
Did you know that the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space; or that Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) came from India; or that Descartes thought up letters (a, b, c, and x) for use in algebra; or that William Bateson coined the word ‘genetics’? Did you know that there are five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth – give or take a few? ... More
This is a marvellous book. I would say that, wouldn’t I? After all, half the writers are friends of mine, including the editor. But the reverse is true. Why should I, immersed in astrophysics, climate change, neutrinos, and deadly bugs as I am, want to spend my precious spare time reading about yet more? And, let’s be quite frank, lots of science writing can be ... More