David E. H. Jones

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David Jones
Born 20 April 1938 (1938-04-20) (age 79)
Residence UK (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Citizenship British
Fields chemistry
Institutions University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Alma mater Imperial College
Known for Daedalus, DREADCO, prediction of fullerenes, arsenic in Napoleon's wallpaper, chemical gardens in space, stability of the bicycle, fake perpetual motion machines

David E. H. Jones (born 20 April 1938) is a British chemist and author, under the pen name Daedalus, the fictional inventor for DREADCO. Jones' columns as Daedalus were published weekly in New Scientist starting in the mid-1960s. He then moved on to the journal Nature, and continued to publish for many years. He published two books with columns from these magazines, along with additional comments and implementation sketches. The first was The Inventions of Daedalus: A Compendium of Plausible Schemes (1982) and the second was The Further Inventions of Daedalus (1999).

David Jones is a chemist by profession. In 1962, he earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Imperial College London. In 1974, he was the Sir James Knott Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He then became an independent science consultant to industry providing ideas, brain storming services, and scientific demonstrations for television. He continued as a guest staff member in the chemistry department at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

His most notable scientific contribution as Daedalus is possibly his prediction of hollow carbon molecules before buckminsterfullerene was made, and long before its synthesizers won a Nobel prize for the discovery of fullerenes. Beyond Daedalus, in scientific circles he is perhaps best known for his study of bicycle stability,[1] his determination of arsenic in Napoleon’s wallpaper,[2] and for having designed and flown an experiment to grow a chemical garden in microgravity[3] Current (late 2016) discussion relates to the claimed invention of 3d printing in 1984 by [Chuck Hall], which Jones in his Daedalus persona discussed 10 years earlier (New Scientist, 3 Oct 1974, p80).

He is also known for his series of fake perpetual-motion machines, the latest of which is in the Technisches Museum, Vienna. In 2009 a documentary film about his work and inventions, Perpetual Motion Machine,[4] was made and shown at the Newcastle Science Festival 2010.[5]

He is known in Germany as a regular guest on the 1980s TV science quiz show Kopf um Kopf (Head to Head), presenting interesting physics experiments.[6]


  • The Inventions of Daedalus: A Compendium of Plausible Schemes, (1982) W. H. Freeman ; ISBN 0-7167-1412-4
  • The Further Inventions of Daedalus, (1999) Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-850469-1
  • The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity (2011) Johns Hopkins University Press ISBN 978-1421403311


  1. ^ Jones, David E. H. (1970). "The stability of the bicycle" (PDF). Physics Today. 23 (4): 34–40. Bibcode:1970PhT....23d..34J. doi:10.1063/1.3022064. 
  2. ^ Jones, David E. H.; Ledingham, Kenneth W. D. (October 14, 1982), "Arsenic in Napoleon's wallpaper", Nature, Nature, 299: 626–627, Bibcode:1982Natur.299..626J, doi:10.1038/299626a0 
  3. ^ Jones, David E. H.; Walter, Ulrich (July 15, 1988), "The Silicate Garden Reaction in Microgravity: A Fluid Interfacial Instability", Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Elsevier, 203: 286–293, doi:10.1006/jcis.1998.5447 
  4. ^ "Website of Perpetual Motion Machine film". Blogspot. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Blog entry on film, with photographs
  6. ^ "WDR - Kopf um Kopf - 1986, David Jones enters at 23:00". YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 

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