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.

  • Zircon jewellery on a white background


    12 July 2019

    The versatile gemstones that give scientists insights into the chemistry of the early Earth, introduced by Brian Clegg

  • Photographic dark room in red light

    Silver iodide

    14 June 2019

    How the compound that ushered in a photographic revolution has taken to the skies to try to control the weather

  • Computer chip

    Beryllium oxide

    17 May 2019

    Brian Clegg examines the duality that makes beryllium oxide so valuable to the electronics industry

  • Plume of talcum powder

    Talc: Magnesium silicate

    5 April 2019

    Coating your naked body with powdered magnesium silicate may sound strange, but it's an important part of many bathtime rituals

  • Funeral mask of the Pharoah Tutankhamun


    15 February 2019

    A brilliant rich blue rock, prized in antiquity as a gemstone and a prominent pigment, lazurite is the basis of lapis lazuli, the original ultramarine paint and – as Brian Clegg finds – it even adorns Tutankhamun's death mask

  • Tin cans

    Tin chlorides

    29 November 2018

    The compounds that put the 'tin' in tin cans and help you to reflect on your appearance

  • Coloured epoxy resin on wood


    16 November 2018

    Epoxies – including hard-wearing resins and strong adhesives – can be found almost everywhere, from your household white goods to the Large Hadron Collider

  • 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

More by Brian Clegg