Brian Clegg

Brian Clegg

Author of The universe inside you

Brian read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and gained an MA in Operational Research at Lancaster University. From Lancaster, he joined British Airways, originally working in OR and later forming a new department tasked with developing hi-tech solutions for the airline. Brian now concentrates on writing popular science books, with topics ranging from infinity to time machines. He also writes for magazines and newspapers from Nature and The Wall Street Journal to Playboy. He gives regular talks and has contributed to radio and TV programmes. Brian edits the book review site and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

  • A bowl of almonds


    23 August 2018

    Brian Clegg on the almond flavour compound that gives your taste buds a treat and may help rescue survivors from a disaster

  • NPK fertiliser

    Potassium sulfate

    5 July 2018

    Brian Clegg on a compound that keeps us well fed and looking radiant

  • Iron pyrite (fool's gold)

    Iron sulfides

    14 June 2018

    One mineral form may look like gold, but Brian Clegg isn't fooled by the value of iron sulfides

  • Early to mid 20th century product tins most visibly one from Folger's Golden Gate Cream Tartar, Edmonds Historical Museum, Edmonds, Washington, USA.

    Potassium bitartrate

    24 May 2018

    Brian Clegg with the winemaking byproduct that may be lurking in your larder

  • Periodic table of the elements – 114 – Flerovium


    9 February 2018

    How 'hot fusion' research saw an end to cold war tensions

  • Rolex submariner, dial glowing in the dark

    Strontium aluminate

    1 February 2018

    A glow-in-the-dark compound that defies naming conventions

  • Aluminium chloride AlCl3 anhydrous (yellow) with some AlCl3x6H2O (hexahydrate) white.

    Aluminium chloride

    7 December 2017

    Brian Clegg becomes a sleuth to investigate the uses of a deceptively simple Lewis acid

  • Test launch of Bumper 8: a two-stage rocket that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket


    16 November 2017

    Brian Clegg introduces a failed rocket fuel oxidiser with a very tricky structure

  • A photograph of orange peel and a bottle of essential oil


    26 October 2017

    A compound known for its citrusy zing, and which also helps honey bees find their way home

  • News stories about 'Ginger Jake', the spirit that caused paralysis known as 'Jake walk' during prohibition

    Phosphorus chlorides

    22 September 2017

    A hugely useful group of compounds that have a distinct dual personality

  • Wooden floorboards


    27 July 2017

    Wood has been vital in the development of human civilisation. Brian Clegg looks at the compound at its heart

  • A rustic cheeseboard


    6 July 2017

    The enzyme that helps us turn milk into cheese is also responsible for the biggest commercial success story of any genetically modified organism

  • An image of a powder with a faint blue glow

    Caesium chloride

    14 June 2017

    A compound found in mineral water that is also used in medical treatments and solar cells

  • A single layer of molybdenum disulfide

    Molybdenum disulfide

    1 March 2017

    Brian Clegg discovers the compound that makes the world’s smallest transistors

  • A bag of freshly donated blood


    8 February 2017

    Brian Clegg examines the colourful compounds that no red-blooded creature can do without: Porphyrins

  • Ball and stick structure of adamantane


    26 January 2017

    Brian Clegg introduces a crystalline hydrocarbon that isn’t as tough as it sounds, but is the basis of a wide range of medicines

  • A lab laser with warning label

    Neodymium chloride

    26 October 2016

    From medicine to the military, this compound makes lasers for a range of applications

  • Laundry drying on a line, surrounded by bubbles

    Quaternary ammonium salts

    21 September 2016

    Brian Clegg introduces a family of molecules that first gave fluffy softness to freshly washed clothes

  • Blue Monkshood flowers, one of several Aconitum species


    31 August 2016

    This powerful poison is said to have the power to transform werewolves and heal snake bites. Brian Clegg unpicks fiction from fact

  • Statin tablets


    17 August 2016

    Brian Clegg gets to the heart of the matter on the benefits or otherwise of one of the most commonly prescribed drugs

More by Brian Clegg