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 www.popularscience.co.uk book review site and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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

    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
    Podcast

    Tetranitromethane

    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
    Podcast

    Citral

    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
    Podcast

    Phosphorus chlorides

    22 September 2017

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

  • Wooden floorboards
    Podcast

    Lignin

    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
    Podcast

    Chymosin

    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
    Podcast

    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
    Podcast

    Molybdenum disulfide

    1 March 2017

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

  • A bag of freshly donated blood
    Podcast

    Porphyrins

    8 February 2017

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

  • Ball and stick structure of adamantane
    Podcast

    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
    Podcast

    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
    Podcast

    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
    Podcast

    Aconitine

    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
    Podcast

    Statins

    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

  • Bowl of sugar
    Podcast

    Sucrose

    31 May 2016

    The tastiest food additive there is, or the greatest threat to life in the western world?

  • Cadmium tellurideiStock22603935300tb
    Podcast

    Cadmium telluride

    27 April 2016

    It may not be the best material for solar cells but it has some distinct advantages

  • An orange mug filled with fruit
    Podcast

    Uranium dioxide

    6 April 2016

    This week’s compound has had a glowing career in the arts and a runaway success in the energy sector

  • A violin
    Podcast

    Sodium hypochlorite

    9 March 2016

    What do hygienic work surfaces have in common with 19th century French violins? Brian Clegg finds out.

  • Sniffing wine
    Podcast

    Denatonium benzoate

    18 April 2013

    Brian Clegg has a sniff at the bitterest substance known to science

  • PVC pipes
    Podcast

    PVC

    3 July 2013

    To some it looks cheap and nasty, for others it’s a sensible (or even sexy) design decision. Brian Clegg wraps himself in PVC

More by Brian Clegg