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Podcasts & Videos


Occasionally I get to escape from the writing desk and take part in some video and podcast work, some of which are collected here. This section is regularly updated so please return soon!


I was interviewed this afternoon by Harriet Scott (Heart 106.2 FM) and Chris Lintott (Sky at Night) for their internet-based astronomy podcast, Livingspace.  Find out which of my Victorian Sun Kings was likened to Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4.0 by downloading the podcast here.

Once you have finished listening to my interview, I recommend you download and listen to the others - there is a lot of good stuff in there.

The New Scientist Space Special is now on-line here. Three of the articles are free to read, the others need a subscription. Also well worth checking out are the New Scientist videos on You Tube.


There are plenty, covering all aspects of science, not just astronomy. Visit them here.

What a tremendous pleasure it was to meet so many of you at Gresham College last night. It really is turning into one of my favourite places. Everyone there makes me so welcome, whenever I visit. Sir Thomas Gresham founded the college in 1597 and it is an independently funded educational institution based in Barnard's Inn, Holborn, in the centre of London. It exists to provide free lectures to the public and has done so now for over four hundred years. My lecture was recorded both with audio and video.


So you can listen or even watch the lecture by clicking here.

New Scientist issue 2679
I have a new feature article published in New Scientist:

“ASTRONOMY. It may be the venerable granddaddy of science, but over the last century it has been reduced to the poor relation of every other branch of modern science.

That's because it is missing one of the foundation stones on which to build its house of knowledge. It has observation and theory in spades but, unlike most other scientific disciplines, it lacks experiment. No one can bench-test the formation of the gas giant Jupiter or nip out the back and explode a star to see if their ideas are correct. No, we have simply had to make do with what the universe throws at us. Until now, that is.

We have at last found a way to bring the universe inside the laboratory. Home-made stars and planets are allowing our various ideas and assumptions about celestial objects to be put ..."


The complete article is 2031 words long and can be read here but a subscription is required.


Popped into Bush House this evening to talk to the BBC World Service about Russian astronaut rituals. Apparently they urinate on the wheel of their transport vehicle just before they get on the rocket and all cosmonauts are required to watch the same 1969 adventure movie the night before the launch. Crazy stuff – but I suppose it keeps their mind of the fact that their job is ten times more deadly than serving in the American military during the Iraq war.

To catch up on the press release that triggered this story, click here. To listen to the interview, click here.

The awesome power of a solar storm is about to visit the United States of America - thankfully in an imagined form.  Storm Worlds: Cosmic Fire brings to life the amazing 1859 Solar Storm that I wrote about in The Sun Kings.  It is one episode in a three eipsode series looking at the extreme weather that can occur across the worlds of the solar system.

A small piece of the original apple tree said to have inspired Newton is about to be flown into space on the Space Shuttle.  It was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation from BBC Scotland to be interviewed by Fred MacAulay on his morning radio show MacAulay and Co.  We talked about gravity, one of the topics I tackle in my upcoming book: Big Questions: Universe (see 13 April Update for more information), and also the mysterious MacAulay effect...

Listen to the interview here.

I had a great time with Neil Denny and Marcus Chown, who talked to me for the excellent Little Atoms science show on Resonance FM.  We talked about The Sun Kings, dark matter and what Newton would do if he had a time machine?

You can hear it here

This is the fourth of my 12 podcasts for the excellent series of daily podcasts known as 365 Days of Astronomy. My contributions are adapted from selected chapters of my forthcoming book: Big Questions: Universe.
So if you want a sneak preview of the book, to be published in the UK in July and in the US in the autumn/winter, head over to 365 Days of Astronomy and listen as I discuss ‘Was Einstein Correct?’. A new podcast from the book will be posted every month, so watch this website for those.

I share the cover story on BBC Focus this month, as I contribute to the “Our future in space” special issue. The series of articles proposed a six step plan into the future.  My contribution is to “Step 3: Mine Space”.

“Forget the Hollywood idea of shiny spacesuits and utopian living.  Once the elite tourist rush is over, the first true space colonies are going to be more ‘gold rush’ mining towns.  They will be industrial bases constantly in search of new resources to exploit: materials to build with, water to drink, rocket fuel to get home with, even air to breathe.  Astronauts are going to have to live off the extraterrestrial land, no matter how hostile or uninviting that land may at first seem.  This is the only way that space colonies are going to be possible, and we have the size of the Earth and its gravity to blame. ...”



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