John R. Gribbin is a British science writer, an astrophysicist, and a visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. The topical range of his prolific writings includes quantum physics, biographies of famous scientists, human evolution, the origins of the universe, climate change and global warming. His also writes science fiction.
John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Sussex in 1966. Gribbin then earned his master of science (M.Sc.) degree in astronomy in 1967, also from the Univ. of Sussex, and he earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge (1971).
In 1968, Gribbin worked as one of Fred Hoyle's research students at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, and wrote a number of stories for New Scientist about the Institute's research and what were eventually discovered to be pulsars.
In 1974, Gribbin published, along with Stephen Plagemann, a book titled The Jupiter Effect, that predicted that the alignment of the planets in quadrant on one side of the Sun on March 10, 1982 would cause gravitational effects that would trigger earthquakes in the San Andreas fault, possibly wiping out Los Angeles and its suburbs. Gribbin repudiated The Jupiter Effect in the July 17, 1980, issue of New Scientist magazine in which he stated that he had been "too clever by half".
In 1984, Gribbin published In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, the book that he is best known for, which continues to sell well 28 years after publication. It has been described as among the best of the first wave of physics popularisations preceding Stephen Hawking's multi-million-selling A Brief History of Time. Gribbin's book has been cited as an example of how to revive an interest in the study of mathematics.
In 2006, Gribbin took part in a BBC radio 4 broadcast as an "expert witness". Presenter Matthew Parris discussed with Professor Kathy Sykes and Gribbin whether Einstein "really was a 'crazy genius' ".
At the 2009 World Conference of Science Journalists, the Association of British Science Writers presented Gribbin with their Lifetime Achievement award.
John Gribbin – Four Way Interview
July 26, 2013
John Gribbin is one of Britain’s foremost science writers. 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 The Universe: A Biography. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex and in 2000 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His most recent book is Computing with Quantum Cats.
From my earliest memories I have been interested in how things (things at large) work, and where it all comes from. I was specifically turned on to science by reading the Sf magazine Astounding (as it then was) from about the age of 8 or 9. Each issue included a “Science Fact” article. This led me to non-fiction by Asimov and Clarke. The rest is history.
Why this book?
Long-standing interest in quantum physics, merged with interest in the quantum group at Sussex University, leaders in the ion trap technology. Turing’s 100th birthday was the specific trigger.
Keeping it under my hat as not yet signed contracts.
What’s exciting you at the moment?
Quantum computing! This is not so obvious as it might seem, since usually by the time a book comes out I have moved on. But the field is developing faster than I can write about it. I’m also intrigued by hints of asymmetry in the cosmic background radiation, but this is very speculative as yet.
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