Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He trained as a chemist at the University of Oxford, and as a physicist at the University of Bristol.
He worked previously at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences and then as a consultant editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.
Philip is the author of many popular books on science, including H2O: A Biography of Water, Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour, The Music Instinct and Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. His book Critical Mass won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books, while Serving the Reich was shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Science Book Prize in 2014.
Philip writes regularly for publications including Nature, New Scientist, the Guardian, the Financial Times, Prospect and New Statesman. He has broadcast on many occasions on radio and TV, and is a presenter of Science Stories on BBC Radio 4. He was awarded the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize in 2019 by the Institute of Physics for communication of physics, and the American Chemical Society James T Grady–James H Stack Award in 2006 for interpreting chemistry for the public. He holds honorary degrees from Bristol University and Union College, NY.
As the French Revolution neared the Lavoisiers were reimagined as scientific progressives rather than out of touch aristocrats
Individual pentacene’s triplet lifetime – and how it is cut short by a nearby oxygen – measured with atomic resolution
Nanoscale stripes and networks that resemble animal markings could be used to make quantum wires
Biochemical basis behind coronavirus variants’ success could hold key to defeating them
The story of Crispr illustrates how a focus on patents and publications can cause good people to act in unsavoury ways
Philip Ball investigates how cells use condensed ‘blobs’ to collect the molecules involved in regulating genes
Universal sequence of elements index uses atomic radii and electronegativity to make predictions about simple compounds