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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 Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen (2014).

Essays
10
Ideas
1
Conversations
8
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

Recent conversations