Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

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IR Astronomy Book – a first glimpse

My publishers have set up a web page for my IR Astronomy book. You can find it here.

It’s a while before publication, but there should be some offers, freebies and other interesting things to be found here as we approach the publication date in november.

This is all quite exciting!


Pythagoras’ Trousers and Herschel

Several of us were interviewed by Chris North at a recent Herschel meeting about what we thought were the highlights of the mission. This was broadcast on Radio Cardiff on 19th May as part of the Pythagoras’ Trousers programme. I don’t know where they got that title but at least they know how to use apostrophes.

You can now hear this section of the programme here.

At the end of the segment, starting at about 17 minutes in, is an attempt to explain the Herschel mission in ordinary plain language, using a script by Jon Brumfitt & Leo Metcalfe read by me. I’m glad that’s all clear now.

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Science for Fiction 2014

Science for Fiction 2014

Are you a professionally published author?
Would your fiction benefit from learning more about current science and technology?
Then come to Science for Fiction 2014!

Science for Fiction will be held the Monday & Tuesday before LonCon3 at Imperial College, on 11th & 12th August 2014, starting 2pm on 11th and all day 12th August.

Subject matter will include theoretical physics, astrophysics, cosmology, genetics and much more. Presentations will be given by leading scientists and there will be plenty of time for discussion during and after the talks.

Science for Fiction costs £35, including lunch on 12th August.

If you want to come please email d.clements at imperial.ac.uk the following information:


Postal Address:

Email Address:

Major recent publications:

Areas of Interest (eg. astronomy, biology):

Dietary Restrictions:

Do you require financial support? (attach details)

Any further information:

Dr D.L. Clements
Blackett Laboratory
Prince Consort Road
London SW7 2AZ

Numbers are limited so apply soon!

Science for Fiction is supported by Imperial College London and the Science Fiction Foundation


Infrared Astronomy book submitted!

Those paying attention will know that I’ve spent quite a lot of my time over the last ~9 months writing a popular book on infrared astronomy.

Yesterday I submitted the book!

The FTP upload of the MS and all associated source materials was pretty big – you get that when using some of the lovely images form Herschel and Hubble as illustrations – and took about an hour to upload. The printing of the hardcopy manuscript was a little more interesting as my printer was running out of toner. It stopped at one point, saying it was out of black toner. I’d ordered some new cartridges and was pleased to find they’d come in. But this didn’t include the black cartridge!

So I resorted to the old fashioned technique of shaking the toner cartridge, in the hope that some was left behind.

I had to do this twice, but it worked and the manuscript is now winging its way to my publisher. 

So – now it’s done, and I can think about spending time on other things!

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Writing News: Paradox – the Fermi Paradox Anthology

A few days ago I got news that I’ve had a short story accepted for the Paradox anthology, a new collection of SF stories being published by NewCon Press at the London Worldcon, 14-18 August this summer.

The editor, Ian Whates, put the final table of contents up on his blog today. I’m awed by the list of stellar writers who are contributing, and amazed that I’m sharing the Table of Contents with such luminaries. The full list is:

1. Introduction
2. Catching Rays  – Dave Clements
3. The Big Next – Pat Cadigan
4. Baedecker’s Fermi – Adam Roberts
5. Zeta Reticuli – Paul Cornell
6. The Ambulance Chaser – Tricia Sullivan
7. Lost to Their Own Devices – Adrian Tchaikovsky
8. In the Beginning – Gerry Webb
9. The Trail of the Creator, the Trial of Creation – Paul di Filippo
10. Stella by Starlight – Mike Resnick & Robert T Jeschoenek
11. Fermi’s Doubts – George Zebrowski
12. Audiovisionary – Stephanie Saulter
13. Aether – Robert Reed
14. The End of the World – Keith Brooke & Eric Brown
15. The Worldmaker – Rachel Armstrong
16. Atonement, Under the Blue-White Sun – Mercurio D Rivera

and more can be read about the anthology on Ian’s blog.

I’ll add more details of the book, and how to order it, when they’re available.

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Book progress

The major editing pass is done, with everything re-read and, where necessary, rewritten. Thanks to my various beta readers for their efforts!

A good thing this stage is finished as the book is due to be submitted next week.

Next stop – sorting out some latex issues, hopefully with the help of the publishers latex expert, and then some annoying publishing bureaucracy by way of permissions forms and checklists.

Going through the book I was actually enjoying reading some of it. This may be a good sign, or maybe Im just biased.

Publication is due for November, assuming all goes well!



Astronomer Royal Coming to Worldcon

I’m the organiser of the science programme at the 2014 World SF Convention, taking place in London from 14-18 August, 2014. We have a press release:


Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention

14-18 August 2014 at ExCeL London



Science stars to shine at London World Science Fiction Convention

London, 8 May 2014 – Some of the biggest names in science, including the Astronomer Royal, have been confirmed to appear at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), which opens at ExCeL London on 14 August 2014.

The extensive Loncon 3 science programme aims to take Worldcon attendees from the farthest and earliest reaches of the universe to the depths of the human cell, from subatomic particles to the theory and practice of geoengineering, from ancient Greek technology to the engineering practicalities behind low cost space flight.

Well-known names booked to deliver specialist talks and appear on panels at the convention include:

  • Baron Rees of Ludlow, a cosmologist and astrophysicist based at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Lord Rees will deliver the George Hay memorial lecture sponsored by the Science Fiction Foundation, a charity which promotes science fiction and its relationship with science.
  • Dr. Tori Herridge, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum who delivered the 2012 Charles Lyell Award lecture at the British Science Festival and co-wrote Who Do You Think You Really Are.
  • Dr. Jenny Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London, who is the editor of the webzine LabLit.com and founder of the Science is Vital organization.
  • Prof. Ian Stewart, professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick and an author of popular science and science fiction books. He has been awarded the Christopher Zeeman Medal and the Michael Faraday Medal.
  • Prof. David Southwood, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, Senior Research Investigator at Imperial College London, and former Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency.

As well as the science programme, attractions at Loncon 3 include the presentation of the Hugo Awards, the world’s leading awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and the Masquerade, live presentations showcasing spectacular costumes. The programme will present nearly a thousand individual items spread over five days, with panels, talks, workshops, quizzes, films, videos, autograph sessions, and more.

Full details of how to become a member of Loncon 3 are available at http://www.loncon3.org/memberships/


For more information please contact media@loncon3.org


Founded in 1939, the World Science Fiction Convention is one of the largest international gatherings of authors, artists, editors, publishers, and fans of science fiction and fantasy. The annual Hugo Awards, the leading award for excellence in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, are voted on by the Worldcon membership and presented during the convention.

Loncon 3 is the trading name of London 2014 Ltd, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England, company number: 7989510. Registered Office: 176 Portland Road, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 1DJ, UK.

“World Science Fiction Society”, “WSFS”, “World Science Fiction Convention”, “Worldcon”, “NASFiC”, “Hugo Award”, the Hugo Award Logo, and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.


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