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David Bodanis is a futurist, speaker, and writer of popular science books. Originally from Chicago, he received an undergraduate education in mathematics, physics and economics at the University of Chicago. He lived in France for ten years and is now based in London.
His first commercial success The Secret House: 24 Hours in the Strange & Wonderful World in Which We Spend Our Nights and Days introduces the "microphotography" writing style, in which the author takes an unusual worm's-eye view perspective that allows him to clarify many obscure and complex phenomena of everyday life in a fresh new way. Bodanis continued developing this style in other books, including the successful E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation and Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World, winner of the Aventis Prize in 2006. He has been translated into 26 languages and featured on the cover of The Economist.
In May 2006, Mr. Bodanis donated his £10,000 Aventis prize to the family of David Kelly, a well-respected government weapons expert who died in unexplained circumstances after being outed (either by the British Government, the media, or both) as the off-the-record source of credible doubts about the Government's claim that Europe was in imminent danger of attack by weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. On July 15, 2003, Dr. Kelly was questioned aggressively by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Two days later, he was found dead in the woods. Although a Government investigation ruled the death a suicide, the facts remain murky and this verdict has been questioned. At the Aventis Prize awards ceremony, David Bodanis said he was giving the Kelly family the prize money in the hopes that his gesture would, "tell some people in England something about the importance of truth."
"Science is all about truth. There's one realm where a lot of people feel that truth hasn't come out and truth is known but it hasn't been acknowledged," alluding to Dr Kelly's efforts to combat the British Government's suppression of what he knew to be the truth. "Events [in Iraq] have clearly shown that they were wrong and he was right."
When asked to contribute to the 2013 web blog "What 150 of the world's smartest scientists are worried about,", Mr. Bodanis (listed as #14) wrote: “I’m worried that our technology is helping to bring the long, postwar consensus against fascism to an end.”
David Bodanis's next book, History of the Ten Commandments, is due to be published in 2014 by Bloomsbury Press.
- Bodanis, David. The Secret House: The Extraordinary Science of an Ordinary Day.
- Bodanis, David. E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation. ISBN 978-0-8027-1352-0.
- Bodanis, David. Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched On the Modern World. ISBN 978-0-307-33598-2.
- Bodanis, David. Passionate Minds: The Great Enlightenment Love Affair. ISBN 0-307-23720-6.
- David Bodanis, World Science Festival 2012
- Sample, Ian. "Science book winner donates prize to David Kelly's family". The Guardian. theguardian.com. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
- Vice Media Inc. "what-150-of-the-worlds-smartest-scientists-are-worried-about". Vice Media Inc. Retrieved 2013.
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