He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in physics (first class). In 1982 he graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in astrophysics. Chown studied under Richard Feynman at the California Institute of Technology.
His books on astronomy and physics are aimed primarily at the popular market, including Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, for which he was praised for "expressing opaque concepts with a unique clarity".
- Afterglow of Creation: From the fireball to the discovery of cosmic ripples. (1993)
- The Ascent of Gravity: The Quest to Understand the Force that explains everything.(2017)
- The Magic Furnace: The quest for the origin of atoms. (1999)
- The Universe Next Door: Twelve Mind-Blowing Ideas from the Cutting Edge of Science. (2001)
- The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead: Dispatches from the Front Line of Science. (2007)
- Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe. (2007) (published in U.S. as The Quantum Zoo: A Tourist's Guide to the Neverending Universe. (2005))
- Felicity Frobisher and the Three-Headed Aldebaran Dust Devil. (2008)
- We Need to Talk About Kelvin. (2009) (published in the U.S. as The Matchbox That Ate A Forty-Ton Truck.)
- Solar System for iPad. (2010) (a book app)
- Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun. (2011)
- Tweeting the Universe: Tiny Explanations of Very Big Ideas. (2011) (with Govert Schilling)
- What a Wonderful World: One Man's Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff. (2013)
- Chown, Marcus (22 March 2018). Big Bang. illus. Chris Moore. London: Ladybird Books. ISBN 978-0-7181-8784-2.
- Infinity in the palm of your hand:fifty wonders that reveal an extraordinary universe.
- Green, Graeme (2007) "60 SECONDS: Marcus Chown", Metro, 18 January 2007, retrieved 2010-03-27
- "Marcus Chown Lecture". Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- White, C. (June 2013). Interactions (PDF). Institute of Physics. p. 7. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- Trotman, Clive (2008) "Esoteric concepts on relative scale", Otago Daily Times, 5 July 2008, retrieved 2010-03-27
- FABER AND FABER AND TOUCHPRESS PARTNER TO CREATE DIGITAL TITLES FOR iPAD, LAUNCHING WITH SOLAR SYSTEM London, England – November 30, 2010