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I have a new story published by ESA today:
ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that galaxies do not need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns this long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve.

Here’s my second story from the TAUP conference in Munich, published by New Scientist today:

“A third experiment has detected tantalising signs of dark matter. The finding raises more questions than answers, however, as two other experiments have found no sign of the mysterious stuff, which is thought to create the gravity that holds spinning galaxies together, accounting for about 85 per cent of all matter in the universe. ...”
To read the full story for free click here.

I’m spending the week in Munich at the 12th international conference on topics in Astroparticle and underground physics (TAUP) conference.  I have a new story published by New Scientist today from the conference:

“Antimatter enthusiasts will love it; dark matter hunters not so much. NASA's FERMI satellite has confirmed a previous hint that there is more antimatter than expected coming from space. The bad news is that the result almost certainly rules out dark matter as the source. ...”
To read the full story for free click here.

I have a new story published by ESA today:
ESA’s Mars Express has spotted a rare case of a crater once filled by a lake, revealed by the presence of a delta. The delta is an ancient fan-shaped deposit of dark sediments, laid down in water. It is a reminder of Mars’ past, wetter climate.

I have a piece on The Guardian's website today to tie-in with my appearance at the Edinburgh Book Festival:


"It's always fascinating to hear what individuals think as they read my books. Sometimes they see things I'd not consciously realised. I get a similar insight when I'm paired up with another writer for a literary event. This year, the organisers of the Edinburgh international book festival have surprised me, by making me look at my novel The Sky's Dark Labyrinth in a totally new way. ..."


You can read the full post here.

It was a great pleasure to be interviewed by Pippa Goldschmidt as part of ESRC Genomics Forum coverage of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  Pippa has previously reviewed The Sky's Dark Labyrinth and this time she she asked me some fascinating questions, including:


Your first novel is actually a fictional account of real historical events. Why did you decide to tackle this in a fictional format?

Were you hoping to attract new audiences with this approach? People who might be put off by non-fiction science books?

Do you think a fictional treatment adds to our understanding?


You can read the full interview here.

A few weeks ago I spent a very enjoyable afternoon chatting with Ernie Almond of BBC 3 Counties Radio.  We talked about space, astronomy, climate change and, of course, writing.  Inevitably we talked about The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth.  You can listen to the interview by using the player below.

Looks like I’m going to be busy lecturing again at the end of the summer and well into the autumn. It is with great pleasure that I’ve accepted invitations to two of my favourite festivals in the UK, and a couple of new ones that I’m looking forward to immensely.


All of these talks are in support of The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth and I want to thank each and every one of you for being so positive about this book. It is my first piece of published fiction and hence was a bit of a leap into the dark. I’m so grateful for the welcome you have given it and the success that you are making of it.

I have a new story published by ESA today:
A newly released image from ESA’s Mars Express shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet’s summer solstice. All the carbon dioxide ice has gone, leaving just a bright cap of water ice.


I have a new story published by ESA today:
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has found molecules of oxygen in a nearby star-forming cloud. This is the first undisputed detection of oxygen molecules in space. It concludes a long search but also leaves questions unanswered.



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