History

Brilliant. Al-Khalili is the Carl Sagan of our generation.

– Professor Marcus Du Sautoy, author of ‘The Creativity Code’

Jim is a theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey where he holds a Distinguished Chair in physics as well as a university chair in the public engagement in science. He received his PhD in nuclear reaction theory in 1989 and has published widely in the field. His current interest is in open quantum systems and the application of quantum mechanics in biology.

He is a prominent author and broadcaster. He has written 14 books on popular science and the history of science, between them translated into twenty-six languages. His latest book, The World According to Physics, was shortlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize. He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, such as the Bafta nominated Chemistry: a volatile history, and he hosts the long-running weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.

Jim is a past president of the British Science Association and a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal and the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He received an OBE in 2007 and a CBE in 2021 for ‘services to science’.

Affiliation & membership

  • University of Surrey Distinguished Chair, Professor of Physics and Public Engagement in Science
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (elected 2018)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology
  • Member of advisory panel of FQXi (Foundational Questions Institute)
  • Member of judging panel for Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2017–)
  • Patron and Vice President of HumanistsUK
  • President, Blackham Society, HumanistsUK
  • Member of advisory board of HAPP (Oxford University Centre for History and Philosophy of Physics)
  • Patron, Orthopaedic Research UK
  • Honorary Patron, National Education Museum
  • Past President of the British Science Association (2018–19)
  • Past Trustee and Member of Council of Institute of Physics (2017–2020)
  • Past Member of Board of Directors of CaSE (The Campaign for Science and Engineering) (2014 – 2020)

The Joy of Science

First published April, 2022

Today’s world is unpredictable and full of contradictions, and navigating its complexities while trying to make the best decisions is far from easy. The Joy of Science presents 8 short lessons on how to unlock the clarity, empowerment, and joy of thinking and living a little more scientifically.

Upcoming events

31 May 2022

Festival Friends Stage, Hay Festival

The Joy of Science (Hay Festival, 31 May, 19:30 GMT)

Talk

7 June 2022

Buckingham Literary Festival

The Joy of Science (Buckingham Literary Festival, 7 June)

Talk

10 June 2022

Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Parabola Arts Centre

The Life Scientific Live with Vlatko Vedral (Cheltenham Science Festival, 10 June, 16:30 GMT)

Talk

11 June 2022

Town Hall, Main Hall

Are We Any Closer to Solving the Mystery of Time (Cheltenham Science Festival, 11 June, 12:00 GMT)

Jim in conversation with Paul Davies

11 June 2022

Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Parabola Arts Centre

Quantum Biology: Do We Really Understand the Processes of Life? (Cheltenham Science Festival, 11 June, 14:25 GMT)

Talk

11 June 2022

Apollo Main Auditorium

The Joy of Science (Cheltenham Science Festival, 11 June, 17:30 GMT)

Book Talk

14 June 2022

Online

The Joy of Science - online talk (York Festival of Ideas, 14 June, 17:30 GMT)

Book Talk

26 June 2022

Garden Tent, Wealden Literary Festival

The Joy of Science (Wealden Literary Festival, 26 June, 13:00 GMT)

Book Talk

Past event

24 May 2022

Charleston Festival

Trust in Science (Charleston Festival, 24 May, 19:30 GMT)

Talk

Past event

17 May 2022

The Royal Institution

Three Minute Wonder Science Communication Competition (The Royal Institution, 17 May, 18:00 GMT)

Science communication competition

Past event

13 May 2022

Clanfield Memorial Hall, Hampshire

The World According to Physics (Hampshire Astronomical Group, 13 May, 20:00 GMT)

Book talk

Past event

5 May 2022

Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon

The Joy of Science (Swindon Festival of Literature, 5 May, 18:30 GMT)

Book talk

Past event

4 May 2022

Crowne Plaza Hotel Stratford-upon Avon

The Joy of Science (Stratford Literary Festival, 4 May, 16:00 GMT)

Book talk

Past event

22 April 2022

Chipping Norton Literary Festival

The Joy of Science (Chipping Norton Literary Festival, 22 April, 20:00 GMT)

Book talk

Past event

19 April 2022

National Museum of Scotland,

Towards a Rational Life (Edinburgh Science Festival, 19th April, 20:00 GMT)

Talk

Past event

7 April 2022

Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge

The Joy of Science (Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge, 7 April)

Book talk

Past event

5 April 2022

Royal Institution

The Joy of Science - Publication Day Event (The Royal Institution, London, 5 April, 19:00 GMT)

Book talk

Past event

25 March 2022

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

The Joy of Science (Oxford Literary Festival, 25 March, 12:00 GMT)

Book talk