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Philip Ball

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Nationality  British
Role  Science writer
Name  Philip Ball

Occupation  Science writer
Residence  London, United Kingdom
Philip Ball Chemistry World Blog Philip Ball
Alma mater  Oxford University Bristol University
Notable work  Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another
Education  University of Bristol, University of Oxford
Nominations  National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
Books  Invisible: The Dangero, Critical Mass, Serving the Reich: The Struggle f, Curiosity: How Science, The Music Instinct: How Musi

Pol revue universally reconsecrates h2o a biography of water by philip ball

Philip Ball (born 1962) is a British science writer. For over twenty years he has been an editor of the journal Nature for which he continues to write regularly. He now writes a regular column in Chemistry World. He has contributed to publications ranging from New Scientist to the New York Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times and New Statesman. He is the regular contributor to Prospect magazine, and also a columnist for Chemistry World, Nature Materials and BBC Future. He has broadcast on many occasions on radio and TV, and in June 2004 he presented a three-part serial on nanotechnology, Small Worlds, on BBC Radio 4.


Philip Ball Philip Ball Speaker IAI TV

Philip ball on the origins of curiosity and the beauty of little experiments nine lessons 2011


Philip Ball prospectrscorgblogscwwpcontentuploads2013

Ball's most popular book is the 2004 Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another, winner of the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. It examines a wide range of topics including the business cycle, random walks, phase transitions, bifurcation theory, traffic flow, Zipf's law, Small world phenomenon, catastrophe theory, the Prisoner's dilemma. The overall theme is one of applying modern mathematical models to social and economic phenomena.

Philip Ball Blogs Prospect Magazine

In 2011, he wrote The Music Instinct in which he discusses how we make sense of sound and how music entices us. He outlines what is known and still unknown about how music has such an emotional impact, and why it seems indispensable to humanity. He has since argued that music is emotively powerful due to its ability to mimic humans and through setting up expectations in pitch and harmony and then violating them.

Ball holds a degree in chemistry from Oxford and a doctorate in physics from Bristol University. As of 2008 he lived in London.


  • Designing the Molecular World: Chemistry at the Frontier (1994), ISBN 0-691-00058-1
  • Made to Measure: New Materials for the 21st Century (1997), ISBN 0-691-02733-1
  • The Self-made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature (1999), ISBN 0-19-850244-3
  • H2O: A Biography of Water (1999), ISBN 0-297-64314-2 (published in the U.S. as Life's Matrix)
  • Stories of the Invisible: A Guided Tour of Molecules (2001), ISBN 0-19-280214-3 (republished as Molecules: A Very Short Introduction (2003), OUP, ISBN 978-0192854308)
  • Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour (2001), ISBN 0-670-89346-3
  • The Ingredients: A Guided Tour of the Elements (2002), ISBN 0-19-284100-9 (republished as The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (2004), OUP, ISBN 978-0192840998)
  • Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another (2004), ISBN 0-434-01135-5
  • Elegant Solutions: Ten Beautiful Experiments in Chemistry (2005), ISBN 0-85404-674-7
  • The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (2006), ISBN 0-434-01134-7
  • The Sun and Moon Corrupted, a novel, Portobello Books Ltd, (2008), ISBN 978-1-84627-108-3
  • Shapes, Nature's Patterns, a Tapestry in three Parts (2009), ISBN 978-0-19-923796-8
  • Flow, Nature's Patterns, a Tapestry in three Parts (2009), ISBN 978-0-19-923797-5
  • Branches, Nature's Patterns, a Tapestry in three Parts (2009), ISBN 978-0-19-923798-2
  • The Music Instinct (2010), ISBN 978-1-84792-088-1
  • Unnatural, The Heretical Idea of Making People (2011), ISBN 978-1-84-792152-9
  • Why Society is a Complex Matter: Meeting Twenty-first Century Challenges with a New Kind of Science (2012), ISBN 978-3-642-28999-6
  • Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything (2013), ISBN 978-0-226-04579-5
  • Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler (2014), ISBN 978-0-226-20457-4 Read an excerpt.
  • Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen (2015), University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-23889-0; (2014), Random House
  • Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way It Does (2016), ISBN 978-0-226-33242-0
  • Awards

    His book Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another won the 2005 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, and his book Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler (The Bodley Head) was on the shortlist for the 2014 prize.


    Philip Ball Wikipedia