Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown is an award-winning English author and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is a cosmology consultant for the weekly science magazine New Scientist.

Marcus Chown was born and raised in London. He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in physics (first class). His educational pursuits led him to the California Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Master of Science in astrophysics in 1982. Chown studied under American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman at the California Institute of Technology.

In his career, Chown has transitioned from a radio astronomer at Caltech to an award-winning author and broadcaster. His role as a cosmology consultant for New Scientist magazine has allowed him to share his deep understanding of the universe with a broad audience.

His literary contributions include acclaimed titles like The Ascent of Gravity (2017), which was recognized as The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year, and Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You (2007). Chown has also ventured into the digital realm, winning The Bookseller Digital Innovation of the Year for his work on Solar System for iPad.

In his latest book, The One Thing You Need to Know: 21 Key Scientific Concepts of the 21st Century (2023), Chown undertakes the ambitious task of simplifying the most crucial scientific ideas of our age. This book is divided into twenty-one concise chapters, each focusing on a central concept in various scientific fields, ranging from astrophysics to environmental science. Chown employs a unique approach, distilling each complex subject to its essence, thereby making the content accessible and engaging for readers who may be short on time but rich in curiosity.

This innovative work exemplifies Chown's skill in breaking down sophisticated scientific theories into manageable insights. Topics like global warming, electricity, and the nature of time are explored through a lens that highlights their fundamental principles.

Apart from his writing, Chown is well-known for his dynamic presence in media and public speaking. He has been a regular guest on BBC4's comedy-science show It’s Only A Theory and has made appearances on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch.

In public forums like the Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Sydney Writers Festival, Chown shares his insights on science, communicating complex ideas with humour and clarity. By focusing on the essence of each concept, he makes his work both informative and engaging.

Marcus Chown lives in London with his wife, a Macmillan nurse.

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years of life: 9 June 1959 present
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