Talk:John Gribbin

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hello?[edit]

is there anyone on this? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 75.54.185.6 (talk) 21:50, 1 February 2007 (UTC).

The bibliography for John Gribbin seems to be missing 'In the beginning', one of his most important works. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.131.39.171 (talk) 00:54, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Bluffer?[edit]

What does "definitive bluffer's guide" mean? What is a bluffer in this context? --DanielCD (talk) 22:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Edits & responses[edit]

I cleaned it up a bit but there remain some minor issues:

1. citation for 'his 100th book', which I could only find mentioned in cites of wikipedia. On his own biography it is not mentioned. Perhaps in the blurb for his books a quote could be found. One could always count the titles ;)

2. I suggest a citation for 'He is best known for his book In Search of Schrödinger's Cat (1984).' Perhaps his bio of Hawking could vie for the title.

3. The bibliography could be improved as in a cursory inspection I found a 2 minor errors of publication date that might indicate more, ISBN links could be made, etc

I'm mystified at the tag 'The notability of this article's subject is in question'. Best to ask the 'millions' of readers about that one.

Please read WP:Notability & WP:BIO for Wikipedia's general & biography-specific notability requirements. Millions of people read the phone books of large cities -- that does not make them notable (see also WP:BIGNUMBER). The bibliography is far too long in proportion to the article text, and needs trimming. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:14, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
In understanding the tag, you might also want to take a look at the article's references:

^ Kruszelnicki, Karl S.. "Planetary Alignment - Part 2". Dr Karl. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-05-09.

^ Gedney, Larry (February 8, 1982). "The Jupiter Effect: Article #526". Alaska Science Forum. University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
^ Gribbin, John (February 1988). "Any old iron?". Nature 331 (6157): 570ff. doi:10.1038/331570c0. ISSN 0028-0836.
^ John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse: Parallel Worlds, Hidden Dimensions, and the Ultimate Quest for the Frontiers of Reality, 2010, p. 195
^ John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse: Parallel Worlds, Hidden Dimensions, and the Ultimate Quest for the Frontiers of Reality, 2010, p. 195
^ John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse: Parallel Worlds, Hidden Dimensions, and the Ultimate Quest for the Frontiers of Reality, 2010, p. 197
^ Are we living in a designer universe?, John Gribbin, The Daily Telegraph, 31 August 2010

See a pattern there? HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:18, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

‘’== Third Party Sources for John Gribbin ==

This section is intended to list third party mention, or more, of John Gribbin. How notable is he? Personal note: I have not heard of Gribbin before. This is a learning exercise for me. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 22:16, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Update: Third party sources for Gribbin include: book reviews, at least one news item about his books, and the Association of British Science Writers honored him with a lifetime achievement award in 2009. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 02:56, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The sources provided in this section could be used to develop the WP article on Gribbin. Sections regarding book reviews, controversy, and recognition could be added to the article.

Controversy, The Jupiter Effect, 1974-1982[edit]

I think a section in the article could be entitled: Controversy; or similarly. The Jupiter Effect, was never supported by astronomers but stirred the public, apparently. Note:

"The great British public is sensibly becoming a bit worried about this threat, and as a result, astronomers are experiencing something of a foretaste of 1982-mania. Observatories, astronomical societies and planetariiums are increasingly finding themselves beseiged by alarmed members of the public. Lecturing on the local astronomical society circuit now involves the risk of a 1982-itis sufferer producing his inevitable question after a talk on...

Astronomers aren't trying to cover up -- they're pretty embarrassed, in fact. And particularly because this prognostication of the world's end stems not from a fundamentalist sect or occult society, but from the pens of two maverick astronmers John Gribbin (well-known to readers of New Scientist) and Stephen Plagemann publicised their unconventional ideas in a popular book, The Jupiter Effect, in 1974. ...

Jean Meese in the July-August issue of Mercury wrote against Gribbin's ideas.

Dr. John Gribbin was the physics consultant for New Scientist at this time. (This speaks favorably of the editorial policy of New Scientist in that they allow a critical report of one of their own.)

The Monkey Puzzle, 1982[edit]

This news item focuses on The Monkey Puzzle by Gribbin and Cherfas. The issue is the picture of evolution given by biologists. It differs from that given by paleontologists.

Alone in the Universe, 2011[edit]

Reviewed by:

  • Benjamin, Marina (October 3, 2000, online). "Showbiz, Everyone of us is a star". London Evening Standard, standard.co.uk. London, UK. Retrieved 2011-12-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

The Universe, A Biography, 2007[edit]

The Universe, a Biography. Reviewed by:

Gribbin excels at getting difficult ideas such as quantum mechanics across and is a master of the homely analogy.

Association of British Science Writers, 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award[edit]

ABSW 2009: A year in review Saturday, 16 January 2010 11:46 | Author: Natasha Loder |

Chair Natasha Loder looks back on the ABSW's achievements and her first six months in charge.

The end of July saw my first official act as chair. I had the pleasure of presenting science writing awards to Ed Yong (Best Newcomer) and to the popular science author John Gribbin (Lifetime Achievement) at a gala event at the Natural History Museum in London. It capped the phenomenally successful 2009 World Conference of Science Journalists.

At the 2009 World Conference of Science Journalists, the Association of British Science Writers presented Gribbin with their Lifetime Achievement award.

  • Loder, Natasha, ABSW chair (January 16 2010). "ABSW 2009: A year in review". News and Events. Association of British Science Writers. Retrieved 2011-12-25.  Check date values in: |date= (help)



ABSW's How to publish a popular science book Thursday, 11 June 2009 10:10 Those attending the World Conference of Science Journalists, are invited to attend the ABSW's How to publish a popular science book on Wednesday 1st July, between 13.30 to 14.30.

From an idea in an author's head, to a book in a reader's hand, there is much about the science book trade that may surprise. This session aims to unlock the mysteries behind writing a book proposal, such as getting an agent, making proposals to editors at publishing houses, how editors have to sell books to their sales/marketing teams, doing deals and getting book buyers interested. The session offers potential authors the chance to ask burning questions of those directly involved in the business in order to shed light on some of the less-well known aspects to the science book trade, such as editing, publicity, and how a book gets reviewed. This session also hopes to address the question of whether the books that become bestsellers are the best books or those which publishing companies have spent the most money.

Speakers:

  • John Gribbin, Author
  • Peter Tallack, Agent
  • Will Goodlad, Publisher (Penguin)

Chair:

  • Sara Abdulla, Nature

http://www.absw.org.uk/news-events/events/events-news-reports/27-absws-how-to-publish-a-popular-science-book

John Gribbin on the BBC[edit]

  • BBC search results, http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/?q=%22john%20Gribbin%22 Topics include: biography of Buddy Holly; could men become reproductively redundant, The Mating Game: In Search of the Meaning of Sex by John Gribbin and Jeremy Cherfas (Penguin Books, ISBN: 0 14 029475 9, £5.99). Math and Gribbin's "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat." "I couldn't believe it, this was the most fascinating book I had ever read. And it had equations and numbers in it. And most surprising of all, it actually made sense... "When I finished I really felt like I had missed out at school. Maths was really interesting!" http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/schedule/?q=%22john%20Gribbin%22

John Gribbin's PhD overseer was Fred Hoyle[edit]

Source: http://www.johngribbin.co.uk/

This helps to explain some of Gribbin's views of the universe. Are there secondary sources that make this connection?

Stephen Hawking: A life in science[edit]

LA Times book review


Kevles criticizes White and Gribbin

"Although his biographers protest that Hawking's disability is beside the point, it obviously isn't."

"White and Gribbin, both experienced science writers, parallel Hawking's intellectual achievements with news events of the time, an odd device that sheds no light on either Hawking's life or work."

"They venture into hyperbole, however, in arguing that Hawking, as Einstein's scientific heir, may complete Einstein's self-appointed task of producing a unified field theory. "

"Their anecdotes about Hawking's personality also lack the color of other accounts"

"The authors write as if no other famous British scientific couple ever had such a problem, "

""Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science" has not been edited for American readers, and some may find this off-putting."

"Closer to home, some of the authors' information about Caltech is simply wrong. It is untrue that "the suicide rate among students ranks almost as high as its academic reputation," or that Caltech is close to one of the best telescopes in the world at Mt. Wilson. That observatory has been largely closed for some time, its role having passed to the telescope on Palomar Mountain."

Kevles praised White and Gribbin

"What the authors do very well is trace Hawking's role in the development of cosmology--the study of the nature of the universe, and the unity of space and time."

Gribbin cited for information on global warming[edit]

Alexander Gellespie in his book on Climate change cites Gribbin's essays over forty times.

John Gribbin info at jrank[edit]

One of the most thorough websites on John Gribbin is the wiki-type site, jrank. It should not be cited in the article but it provides info and leads.

John (R.) Gribbin (1946-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Read more: John (R.) Gribbin (1946-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights - Review, York, Search, and Science - JRank Articles

Of interest to our discussion of third party sources, jrank lists over 60 such sources for Gribbin. In my opinion, there is no longer an issue of the existence of third party sources. The remaining issue is to work these sources into the article's text and to replace sources too close to Gribbon. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 00:49, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Works listed by topic[edit]

The list of works on the Gribbin article is extremely long. This section is intended to begin the process of selecting those works which ought to be mentioned. Another goal is to categorize the topics he writes upon.

Science[edit]

  • (1999) Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything, Yale University Press. ISBN 0-3000-8460-9.
  • (1999) Get a Grip on Physics
  • (1999) The Little Book of Science
  • (2003) Science: A History 1543-2001, Gardners Books. ISBN 0-1402-9741-3.
  • (2003) The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors, Random House. ISBN 0-8129-6788-7.
  • (2009) Flower Hunters. Oxford University Press. Mary Gribbin and John Gribbin. ISBN 13: 9780199561827 ISBN 10: 0199561826Paperback, 320 pages
  • (2006) The Fellowship: The Story of a Revolution, Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9745-1 (the story of the Royal Society).

Children's Books on Science[edit]

  • (2003) Big Numbers: A Mind Expanding Trip to Infinity and Back (coauthor Mary Gribbin), Wizard Books (children’s imprint of Icon Books) 2005 edition. ISBN 1-84046-661-8.
  • (2003) How far is up? : Measuring the Size of the Universe (coauthor Mary Gribbin), Icon Books 2005 edition. ISBN 1-8404-6439-9.
  • (2008) Time Travel for Beginners (children's, with Mary Gribbin)
  • (2000) Eyewitness: Time & Space, DK Children. ISBN 0-7894-5578-1.

Predictions[edit]

The Sun[edit]

  • (1980) The Death of the Sun (also as The Strangest Star: The Scientific Account of the Life and Death of the Sun)
  • (1991) Blinded by the Light: The Secret Life of the Sun

Quantum Physics[edit]

Just bought this book which doesn't seem to be listed: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/john-gribbin/computing-with-quantum-cats-from-colossus-to-qubits-9780593071151.aspx — Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.16.24.235 (talk) 02:40, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Evolution and Human Genetics[edit]

  • (1982) The Monkey Puzzle: A Family Tree (coauthor Jeremy Cherfas), Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-52794-1.
  • (1988) The One Percent Advantage: The Sociobiology of Being Human
  • (1990) Children of the Ice: Climate and Human Origins
  • (1993) Being Human: Putting People in an Evolutionary Perspective
  • (1985) In Search of the Double Helix,Bantam. ISBN 0-5533-4432-3.
  • (1984) The Redundant Male: Is Sex Irrelevant in the Modern World? (coauthor Jeremy Cherfas)(rev., The Mating Game, 2001)
  • (2003) The First Chimpanzee: In Search of Human Origins (coauthor Jeremy Cherfas)

Climate Change and other World Concerns[edit]

  • (1976) Forecasts, Famines, and Freezes: Climates and Man's Future
  • (1977) Our Changing Planet, Wildwood House Limited. ISBN 0-6900-1693-X.
  • (1978) Climatic Change (Editor and contributor)
  • (1978) What's Wrong with Our Weather? The Climatic Threat of the Twenty-first Century
  • (1979) Climate and Mankind
  • (1979) Weather Force: Climate and Its Impact on Our World
  • (1981) Carbon Dioxide, Climate, and Man
  • (1982) Future Weather and the Greenhouse Effect
  • (1985) Weather
  • (1986) The Breathing Planet (editor)
  • (1988) The Hole in the Sky: Man's Threat to the Ozone Layer (rev. ed, 1993)
  • (1990) Hothouse Earth: The Greenhouse Effect and Gaia
  • (1992) Too Hot to Handle? Greenhouse Effect
  • (1978) This Shaking Earth (aka Earthquakes & Volcanoes)
  • (1996) Watching the Weather

Astronomy and Description of the Universe[edit]

  • (1976) Astronomy for the Amateur
  • (1976) Our Changing Universe: The New Astronomy
  • (1977) White Holes: Cosmic Gushers in the Universe
  • (1979) Future Worlds
  • (1979) Timewarps
  • (1982) Cosmology Today (editor and contributor)
  • (1983) Spacewarps: Black Holes, White Holes, Quasars, and the Universe
  • (1992) In Search of the Edge of Time: Black Holes, White Holes, Worm Holes (US title Unveiling the Edge of Time), Three Rivers Press. 1994 reprint: ISBN 0-5178-8170-5.
  • (1994) Time and Space
  • (1997) Time and the Universe (children's)
  • (1998) The Case of the Missing Neutrinos: And Other Phenomena of the Universe
  • (1998) The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything
  • (1998) Watching the Universe
  • (2001) Hyperspace: The Universe and Its Mysteries (also pub as Space: Our Final Frontier)
  • (2008) Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction
  • (2008) The Universe: A Biography, Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9857-1.
  • (2009) From Here to Infinity: A Beginner's Guide to Astronomy

Origins of the Universe[edit]

  • (1976) Galaxy Formation: A Personal View
  • (1982) Genesis: The Origins of Man and the Universe
  • (1986) In Search of the Big Bang, Bantam. ISBN 0-5533-4617-2.
  • (1994) In the Beginning: After COBE and before the Big Bang
  • (1999) The Birth of Time: How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe
  • (1997) Origins: Our Place in Hubble's Universe (as Empire of the Sun, ’98; as Cosmos ’06)
  • (2001) The Birth of Time: How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe, Yale University Press. ISBN 0-3000-8914-7.

Novels[edit]

  • (1981) The Sixth Winter(with Douglas Orgill)(novel)
  • (1982) Brother Esau (with Douglas Orgill) (novel)
  • (1988) Double Planet (with Marcus Chown) (novel)
  • (1989) Father to the Man (novel)
  • (1991) Ragnarok (with D.G. Compton) (novel)
  • (1991) Reunion (with Marcus Chown) (novel)
  • (1993) Innervision (novel)
  • (2009) Timeswitch (novel)
  • (2011) The Alice Encounter (novella)

Biographies[edit]

Other still to be categorized[edit]

  • (1987) The Omega Point, Bantam. 0-5533-4515-X.
  • (1989) Cosmic Coincidences, Bantam paperback: ISBN 0-5533-4740-3, New Age paperback: ISBN 0-5530-5730-8.
  • (1990) The Cartoon History of Time (with Kate Charlesworth)
  • (1991) The Matter Myth (coauthor Paul Davies)
  • (1996) Companion to the Cosmos, Little
  • (1996) Fire on Earth: Doomsday, Dinosaurs, and Humankind (coauthor Mary Gribbin), St Martins Press. ISBN 0-3121-5529-8.
  • (2000) Stardust: Supernovae and Life—The Cosmic Connection(coauthor Mary Gribbin), Yale University Press. ISBN 0-3000-9097-8
  • (2001) XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It
  • (2001) Ice Age
  • (2004) The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
  • (2004) Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity, Random House. ISBN 1-4000-6256-X.
  • (2005) Dazzling Discoveries
  • (2006) The Origins of the Future: Ten Questions for the Next Ten Years, Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-3001-2596-2.
  • (2009) Not Fade Away
  • (2009) In Search of the Multiverse
  • (2011) The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth
  • (2011) Alone in the Universe: Why our planet is unique, Wiley

John Gribbin subtopics[edit]

As I have mentioned earlier, John Gribbin is new to me. I have noted the trimming back of poorly cited material and agree with the need for solid sources. As I have studied about Gribbin, I am convinced that his impact as a science writer is the story. The question is how to get his story into the article about him. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 13:39, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

The question is whether or not there's sufficient information to create an article that's not just a resume and which doesn't feel like a jigsaw puzzle with 90% of the pieces missing. Yes, we could say that he co-wrote a somewhat-criticised biography of Hawking, but the problem is that most of the LA Times review is talking about Hawking himself, and actually says more about CalTech than about Gribben (about whom it says no more than that he's an experienced science writer). It might be useful if an article is ever written about the book, but is of little use for information on its co-author. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 14:04, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Yes, the goal is to move beyond a resume. Gribbin's contribution, in my opinion, is his making science understandable to the non-scientist. His children's books published with his wife as co-author are also a significant contribution to an understanding of science. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 15:32, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Gribbon has made a mark on the following, in my opinion:
  1. Explaining science to the non-scientist; in general, in particular: Quantum Physics, Astronomy, Origins of the universe, Evolutionary biology
  2. Controversy: the Jupiter Effect, late 70s; Climate change

Awards[edit]

This section is intended to be a draft in preparation for a section in the article highlighting awards received by Gribbin

  • Almost Everyone's Guide to Science, The Universe, Life and Everything
  1. Selected as an outstanding book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries
  2. Selected by Library Journal as one of the best Sci-Tech books of 1999
  3. A selection of Doubleday Select Science Book Club
http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=0300081014
  • The Origins of the Future, Ten Questions for the Next Ten Years
  1. Winner of the Bronze IPPY Award in the Science Category
  2. Selected as a 2007 AAUP University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.
http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300125962

Critics[edit]

This section is intended to provide citations regarding what the critics say about Gribbin. This is a draft for a similar section in the Gribbin article.

Jupiter Effect (already discussed in the article)

Multiverse

Lack of accuracy

Response from the Christian community.

Biographical Summaries[edit]

This section is intended to present the various summaries about Gribbon given by book publishers or as intro to lectures, etc.

  • Stardust

Yale University Press John Gribbin, visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex, is the author of many bestselling books of science, including In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry and the Theory of Everything, Almost Everyone’s Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything, and The Birth of Time: How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe, the last two published by Yale University Press. He is married to Mary Gribbin, also a science writer.http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300084191

  • Fitzroy

John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin are visiting fellows at the University of Sussex. John Gribbin has long been interested in the weather and is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. Mary Gribbin has a special interest in exploration and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Together they have written many books on science topics. http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300103618


Penguin Books

...He is married with two sons and lives in East Sussex. http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,1000013299,00.html

...Who or what has most inspired your work? Arthur C Clarke & Isaac Asimov http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,1000013299,00.html?sym=MIS


  • on physics by naglaa walker

with texts by: sacha craddock and john gribbin

Selected as one of the ‘10 outstanding young photographers from around the world who look certain to shape the medium in years to come.’ Art Review, Faces of the Future, October 2004.

'a new fusion of art and science.' Matthew Collings

Winner of a Jerwood Photography Award in 2003, Naglaa Walker has established herself as one of the most exciting young artists to emerge in recent years in the UK. Since 2000 her work has been seen in more than 25 exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the United States. Before taking an MA Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art, Naglaa Walker trained as a scientist, and worked briefly as a Physics researcher. She draws on this background, using diptyches which juxtapose blackboard images of chalked equations with carefully staged photographic images, enabling the viewer to make connections between the abstraction of physical laws and the reality of experience.

John Gribbin is the award-winning author of many popular science books and probably the most well known UK writer and broadcaster on the subject. He lucidly illustrates how science uses imagery from everyday life as metaphors to communicate complex ideas in an understandable way. Sacha Craddock, leading art critic, writer and curator, provides a context within which to consider and evaluate Walker’s work.

A special collector's edition is also available. Limited to 100 signed copies, presented in a luxury bound Buckram slip case and with a signed and numbered A4 print, the edition price is £100.00 plus shipping at cost. For further information phone +44 (0)161 442 9450. http://www.dewilewispublishing.com/PHOTOGRAPHY/On%20Physics.html


  • NB: such summaries are NEVER third-party, and are frequently promotional (and as such WP:QS). As such, they must be used very cautiously and sparingly. They exist right at the very bottom of the hierarchy of sources. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:14, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Reviews of Specific Works[edit]

The Flower Hunters, by Mary and John Gribbin[edit]

Wall Street Journal[edit]

Garmey, Jane (May 10, 2008). "The Age of Botanical Exploration, The Flower Hunters by Mary and John Gribbin". Books, Wall Street Journal, page W8. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 


Flower Hunters By Mary Gribbin and John Gribbin (2008) Oxford, 332 pages, $27.95

Some of Garmey's comments:

...In "Flower Hunters," Mary and John Gribbin tell the stories of 11 of these intrepid plant collectors, whose work laid the foundations of the modern science of botany.

...

The writing is pedestrian ... and the chapter-length biographical sketches are too often superficial. The authors provide plenty of domestic detail...but the Gribbins are less successful at conveying the sense of a larger cultural context.

..."Flower Hunters" makes no pretense of being encyclopedic, but I was surprised to find no mention of the French plant collectors, often Jesuit missionaries, who traveled to China during the 17th and 18th centuries. More perplexing is the omission of the two John Tradescants, father and son, who were responsible for the introduction of many new plants to England. Both men traveled widely during the 17th century -- the father to Russia and North Africa, where he collected purple clover, the son to North America, where he obtained the first tulip tree seen in England.

These oversights are understandable, though -- the Gribbins had to make certain choices.

Less pardonable are the skimpy chapter notes at the back of the book, which don't even tell the reader which pages they refer to.

But "Flower Hunters" does at least offer a bouquet of anecdotes.

Ms. Garmey writes about gardens and gardening for the Journal

The Reason Why: The miracle of life on earth[edit]

The Times Higher Education, 2011[edit]

Dartnell, Lewis; Darracott-Cankovic, Chloe (May 12 2011). "The Reason Why: The miracle of life on earth". The Times Higher Education. TSL Education Ltd. Retrieved 2011-12-30.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

The moon makes earth's development unique.

...For me, the keystone of the book is Gribbin's argument that it is the Moon that is the single most important factor in keeping our planet suitable for the development and sustenance of complex life such as us humans. Our planet did not originally form with a moon (neither did Venus or Mars), but was endowed with a large satellite by a chance occurrence at the very dawn of the solar system.
...Many of these arguments concerning the importance of the Moon, as well as other quirky features of our planet or the solar system we reside in, have already been covered (see, for example, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee's 2000 book Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe),

but Gribbin does an admirable job of bringing the discussion up to date with recent scientific discoveries.

"A veteran science writer, Gribbin has

published more than 100 books over the past four decades.
Indeed, it was reading some of his books as a young teenager that helped fire my (Dartnell) own passion for science and sent me down my chosen career track.
The Reason Why exhibits
the comprehensive research and
lyrical writing
that admirers of Gribbin have come to expect.
For example, when describing the impact into the ocean of an asteroid 10km in diameter that served to finish off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, Gribbin points out that "the appropriate image is not tossing a pebble into the sea, but dropping a brick into a puddle".

...The Reason Why is not without its faults, however.

One of Gribbin's pet theories is that three major features of the history of the solar system may all be linked. Venus rotates on its axis exceedingly slowly, and in the opposite direction to the other planets. A second curious feature of this world is that its entire face seems to have been smothered in thick magma flows from global volcanic activity an estimated 700 million years ago.
...While such a theory conveniently solves three puzzles of the solar system, there is no real evidence to support it.
...Minor reservations aside,
The Reasons Why is an enormously readable book, and it will leave you with a lot to chew over. I heartily recommend it.

...

"John Gribbin says

his interest in astrophysics was sparked at the age of 8 by the science fiction of Astounding magazine
and the authors Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov.
He received a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's in astronomy from the University of Sussex, where he is now a visiting research Fellow in astronomy.
After completing a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Cambridge in 1971, he went on to write for Nature and New Scientist.

"The author of books ranging from

In Search of Schrodinger's Cat (1984) to Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly (2005),
he is a keen chess player and
an enthusiastic cook.
As well as writing science fiction,
he has composed songs for Three Bonzos and a Piano (the surviving members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) and
follows Kent County Cricket Club. "I would have liked to have been a cricketer but lacked the talent," he says.

In 2009

he received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Association of British Science Writers, and

in 2010,

the G. B. Lacchini Prize from the Unione Astrofili Italiani.

Chloe Darracott-Cankovic, assistant to the editor, has her name attached to this bio section.

Science, a history 1543-2001[edit]

The Spectator[edit]

Macfarlane, Robert (September 28, 2002). "Quod erat demonstrandum, Science: a history, 1543-2001, by John Gribbin". Spectator Book Club, book reviews. The Spectator. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

A tremendous survey of Western science. Gribbin writes with utter confidence in science; its beauty, its utility, and its accuracy. It is this confidence which gives his writing its "remarkable energy and its single weakness".

Gribbin is a distinguished astronomer,

and one of the finest and most prolific writers of popular science around.

His In Search of Schrodinger's Cat (1984) was among the best of the first wave of physics popularisations to share in the success of Stephen Hawking's multi-million-selling A Brief History of Time.

Margaret Atwood - who was one of the writers, along with Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, and Tom Stoppard, to get very excited about the sudden availability of the new physics - read it, assimilated it, and credited Gribbin warmly in the back of her subsequent novel, Cat's Eye. Since then, Gribbin has written on everything from epidemiology to the Ice Age, and

Gribbin is a skilled thumbnail biographer, a narrative historian, a teacher and a wit.

...

There are plenty of geniuses in the history of science, and readers who are already familiar with their Galileos and their Newtons will find numerous less well-known visionaries here...

What readers will not find here, however, are many women. ... Despite the overwhelming masculinity of the story which Gribbin relates, there is no sense apparent that the history of science could have, or should have, been otherwise. Aside from this weakness, John Gribbin is to be hugely congratulated for his achievement.

This book is the product of immense learning,

Gribbin writes in a vivacious way about science and scientists.

and a lifetime spent working out how to write in a vivacious way about science and scientists.

He moves me to bestow a reviewer's cliche I long ago vowed never to use, except in cases of extreme unction: he has written a tour-de-force.

Lecture, Newcastle University, April 30, 2009[edit]

"John and Mary Gribbin, Visiting Fellows at the University of Sussex. The Flower Hunters: Botanical Explorers of the Nineteenth Century". Insights Public Lectures. Newcastle University. April 30, 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

Click to listen to a recording of this lecture

Newcastle's promotional bio of the Gribbins:

Mary and John Gribbin are among the best-known current popular science writers. Together, they have written many acclaimed books, including Ice Age, FitzRoy, Stardust, and Big Numbers. Mary is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. John is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a best-selling author in his own right.

Interviews online with Gribbin[edit]

Ross, Greg. "Scientists' nightstand: John Gribbin". American Scientist: on the bookshelf. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

Ross' biographical intro:

John R. Gribbin studied astrophysics at the University of Cambridge before beginning a prolific career in science writing. He is the author of dozens of books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat (Bantam, 1984), Stardust (Yale University Press, 2000), Ice Age (with Mary Gribbin) (Penguin, 2001) and Science: A History (Allen Lane, 2002).

Some quotes from the interview:

Although I trained as an astronomer, I have made my living writing books for the past 30 years and describe myself as a writer who happens to have a background in science, not a scientist who happens to write books. But I have an honorary post of Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, where I get a chance to see, and talk to, real people instead of spending all my time staring at a computer screen. My best-known book is In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, which is now 21 years old. The alarming implication is that I have been going downhill ever since 1984. In my early days in astronomy, I worked on pulsar models; in my last fling in research, at the end of the 1990s, I was involved in a determination of the Hubble parameter, which tells us the age of the universe. My latest book is Deep Simplicity (Random House, 2005).

What book has influenced you most? Explain how.

In terms of affecting my life, not one book but the series of "Mr. Tompkins" books by George Gamow, which I read when I was very young and which introduced me to the excitement and wonder of science. As an adult, The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Addison-Wesley, 1963), which appeared just as I was starting my first degree.

Reviews of Gribbin's writings[edit]

I read the sub-section "Critical comments" and also read the cited book reviews. The problem is that comments in the book reviews are presented in our article as general comments on all of Gribbin's writings. Since the negative comments only applied to the book being reviewed, it is not appropriate to use them to generalize about all of his writings. The other problem is that two of the three books reviewed were co-written, so there is a difficulty in knowing how much of the blame for the faults to assign to Gribbin himself. Since I don't think we want to do a "Positive comments" and "Negative comments" section on each of his 100 works, I suppressed the comments that over-generalized. Any comments are welcome. --Kenatipo speak! 02:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

If you don't think material accurately reflects the source then tag it or rewrite it. 'Suppressing' it is thoroughly unhelpful. Also the 'positive' section was just as vague. Given that (i) both sections are small & (ii) whoever wrote them decided to split one review into both of them, I have combined them into a single section, with WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Good job, Hrafn! (You're not completely worthless after all, are you?) --Kenatipo speak! 06:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Works section[edit]

I've removed the 'Other still to be categorized' section as blatantly gratuitous. It does however still require further trimming -- as this 'tail' is clearly 'wagging the dog'. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 10:06, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

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Sine Cosine Blunders[edit]

In Q is for Quantum (in the 1999 and 2002 editions and perhaps later editions also), John Gribbin makes some statements about sines and cosines. In the article on 'mixing angle', he says, "For an angle θ, the sum of the functions sineθ and Cosθ is always 1." In the article on 'superposition of states', he says, "...for any chosen angle, the sine and cosine are each less than 1, but add up to 1." The correct relation is . (And for some angles sine θ is 1 and for some angles cosine θ is 1, not just less than 1.) To blunder like this in two different articles undermines confidence in the author's real understanding of the mathematics behind the physics he write about. Pliny (talk) 15:17, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

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