NewsRemembering Harry Kroto
The chemist Harry Kroto, co-discoverer of buckminsterfullerene, died in East Sussex on 30 April and his funeral took place on 19 May. Graham knew Harry well, and remembers fondly a fine chemist, an inspirational communicator, and a good friend.
Blackett and Beckett lived here
48 Paultons Square, Chelsea, London, was home to the experimental physicist Patrick Blackett and to the playwright Samuel Blackett, albeit at different times. Recently, English Heritage agreed that their residency should be marked by blue plaques, and Graham was invited to speak at the unveiling on the life of Blackett, though he also could not resist praising the achievement of Beckett, one of his favourite playwrights.
Astronomer Sir Arnold Wolfendale and actress Penelope Wilton unveil the Blackett and Beckett blue plaques
Masters of Edinburgh
As part of his research for his next book, Graham spent last Friday in Edinburgh talking with the Fields-Medal winning mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah and the Nobel-winning physicist Sir Peter Higgs.At the Perimeter
p>Graham spent the past week at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, as a guest of its Director Neil Turok, talking with several of its leading theoreticians. This was part of Graham’s research for his forthcoming book on the relationship between mathematics and fundamental physics, which Einstein called ‘miraculous’. For Paul Dirac, theoreticians who work on fundamental physics should regard mathematical beauty as their lodestar.Why trust a theory?
In Munich last week, physicists, philosophers, historians and others gathered to debate the question Why Trust a Theory?
Jim Al-Khalil’s entertaining Radio 4 programme The Beauty of Equations is now available on BBC iPlayer Radio.
On Wednesday, Graham realised a long-held ambition to meet John Conway, one of the most innovative mathematicians of the past few decades.
Inventor of ‘The Game of Life’, surreal numbers and ideas that have found applications in theoretical physics, Conway is a unique figure. Now emeritus professor at Princeton University, he is currently visiting the UK, and has given a special lecture at Cambridge. Graham arranged for him to give an interview in London with The Guardian’s Ian Sample, available as a podcast.Neurotribesman
Graham this week realised a long-held ambition of meeting one of the few heroes of social media, Steve Silberman, once described by Graham as the ‘Roger Federer of Tweeting’. Long a prominent journalist, @stevesilberman is an authentic star of Twitter and has recently published NeuroTribes, his new perspective on autism, currently riding high in the New York Times best-sellers list. Recently, the book was long-listed for this year’s Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.
70 years after Hiroshima
The Daily Telegraph published this article by Graham today, seventy years after the first use of a nuclear weapon.
Is nature a work of art?
In today’s Guardian, Graham reviews A Beautiful Question, the latest book by the great American theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.