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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Philip Ball
Freelance writer, London

Philip Ball is a British science writer, whose work appears in Nature, New Scientist and Prospect, among others. His latest book is Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics is Different (2018). He lives in London.

Written by Philip Ball

Essay/
Future of Technology
Sim ethics

Say you could make a thousand digital replicas of yourself – should you? What happens when you want to get rid of them?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Mathematics
How natural is numeracy?

Where does our number sense come from? Is it a neural capacity we are born with — or is it a product of our culture?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Quantum Theory
Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition

Philip Ball

Essay/
Cosmology
Life rocks

Could meteorites be akin to lifeboats from other planets? Or do they reveal more about life on Earth than off it?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Music
The story trap

We use neat stories to explain everything from sports matches to symphonies. Is it time to leave the nursery of the mind?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Philosophy of Science
Too many worlds

Nobody knows what happens inside quantum experiments. So why are some so keen to believe in parallel universes?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Beauty & Aesthetics
Beauty ≠ truth

Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide. And it doesn’t even look good

Philip Ball

Essay/
Engineering
Machine envy

Giant instruments are giving us a sea of data. Can science find its way without any big ideas at the helm?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Art
Making good

Repairing things is about more than thrift. It is about creating something bold and original

Philip Ball

Essay/
Biology
Small things

The discovery of a microscopic world shook the foundations of theology and created modern demons

Philip Ball

Essay/
History of Science
Science fictions

Is the scientific endeavour always a bold and noble quest for truth? Not when it is writing its own history

Philip Ball