Lewis Dartnell

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Lewis Ryan Dartnell (born 21 November 1980)[1] is a British author, presenter, and professor of science communication at the University of Westminster. His works of popular science include The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch[2] and Origins, which looks at how geology has impacted human history.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Dartnell was born in the UK, but spent much of his childhood years abroad, as his father was posted overseas while working as an engineer for British Airways.[2] He was educated at Charterhouse, in Surrey, and obtained a degree in biology from the University of Oxford.[4] He completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Astrobiology at University College London. His thesis, Computer modeling and experimental work on the astrobiological implications of the Martian subsurface ionising radiation environment,[5] was subsequently reprinted under the title of Martian Death Rays.[6]



Dartnell was a UK Space Agency research fellow[7] at the University of Leicester, where his research focused on the study of extremophile microbes and their signs of past or present life, including the use of Raman spectroscopy to detect micro-organisms even after they have been damaged by exposure to very high levels of radiation.[8] He is currently a Professor of Science Communication at the University of Westminster.[9]


Dartnell has written science articles for popular magazines including New Scientist,[10] and was runner up for The Daily Telegraph Science Writer's Award in 2004.[11] He has written several books, including Life in the Universe,[12] an introductory book to the field of astrobiology, and The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch.[13] 2019 saw the publication of Origins,[14] which is an account of how the Earth has affected human evolution and civilizations.

Dartnell also contributed an essay on extraterrestrial life edited by Jim Al-Khalili.[15]


Dartnell has appeared in several science programmes for BBC radio and television, including guest appearances on The Sky at Night[16] and StarGazing Live.[17] He also presented at TED in March 2015 during Session 10: Building from Scratch.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Dartnell lives in the Stoke Newington area of London.[2]


Riichiro Inagaki, Tokyo based author of the manga series Doctor Stone, references a japanese translation of Dartnell's book The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilisation in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm as a consulted work. Dr Stone is a manga series and an anime series about a science-savy teenager on a mission to rebuild civilisation after the whole of humanity has been turned to stone. [18]


  1. ^ Companies House, retrieved 5 July 2015
  2. ^ a b c Times Educational Supplement, 3 April 2014, retrieved 5 July 2015
  3. ^ McKie, Robin (3 February 2019), Guardian, retrieved 1 December 2019
  4. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF), retrieved 5 July 2015
  5. ^ Dartnell, L. R. (July 2008), Computer modeling and experimental work on the astrobiological implications of the Martian subsurface ionising radiation environment (UCL) (Doctoral), retrieved 5 July 2015
  6. ^ Martian Death Rays (Amazon), ASIN 383834300X
  7. ^ UKSA research fellow job profile (SGM), archived from the original on 14 July 2015, retrieved 5 July 2015
  8. ^ a b Program Speakers 2015, retrieved 5 July 2015
  9. ^ Dartnell, Lewis - About Us - University of Westminster, retrieved 13 April 2017
  10. ^ New Scientist articles written by Lewis Dartnell, retrieved 5 July 2015
  11. ^ New £1000 Science Writing Award (ABSW), archived from the original on 6 July 2015, retrieved 5 July 2015
  12. ^ Life in the Universe (Amazon), ASIN 1851685057
  13. ^ The Knowledge: How to Rebuild the World from Scratch (Amazon), ASIN 0099575833
  14. ^ Origins (Amazon), ASIN 1847924352
  15. ^ Senior, Jennifer (24 May 2017), "'Aliens' Asks: If the Universe Is So Vast, Where Is Everybody? (New York Times)", The New York Times, retrieved 30 May 2017
  16. ^ The Sky at Night (BBC), retrieved 5 July 2015
  17. ^ Star Gazing Live (BBC), retrieved 5 July 2015
  18. ^ Inagaki, Riichiro (2017) Dr Stone, VIZ Media

External links[edit]