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PAUL PARSONS is the former editor of the monthly science and technology magazine BBC Focus, and has contributed popular science articles to publications ranging from the Daily Telegraph to FHM. He holds a DPhil in cosmology.

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And 34 Other Really Interesting Uses of Physics


How do you generate a force field? Is time travel possible? Could you survive falling in a black hole? How do you turn lead into gold? Can you live for ever? If you thought physics was all about measuring the temperature of ice in a bucket or trying to fathom what E=mc2 means, think again...


HOW TO DESTROY THE UNIVERSE demystifies the astonishing world of physics in a series of intriguing, entertaining and often extraordinary scenarios that explain key physics concepts in plain and simple language. You'll find out how to save the planet from energy shortages by mining the vacuum of empty space, engineer the Earth's climate to reverse the effects of global warming, and fend off killer asteroids just like Bruce Willis and his vest. You'll learn essential survival skills such as how to live through a lightning strike, how to tough it out during an earthquake and how to fall into a black hole without being squashed into spaghetti. And you'll discover some plain old cool stuff like how to turn lead into gold, how to travel to the centre of the Earth, how to crack supposedly unbreakable codes and how to use physics to predict the stock market.


So if you want to get to grips with science behind relativity, antigravity and parallel universes, or if you are really more interested in learning how to teleport, travel through time or achieve immortality, this is the perfect introduction to the amazing world of modern physics.


Publisher: Quercus

Pub Date: 31 March 2011

Length: 224 pages


World rights: Quercus


A Rough Guide to Surviving the End of the World


The countdown to the much-touted end of the world in 2012 gets closer and closer. Climate change, killer asteroids or President Schwarzenegger: how will the world end? And what exactly can we do about it?


A light-hearted yet well-informed book, INVASIONS OF KILLER TOMATOES AND OTHER HAZARDS examines the threats to the very existence of life on Earth, how we might be able to deal with them and – if things go truly, horribly wrong – how we might just be able to survive.


Written by science and science-fiction fan Paul Parsons, this gripping book examines scenarios ranging from megafloods to space radiation, supervolvanoes to bioengineering and what you should do when the ***t hits the fan. All are placed under the scientific spotlight and presented with clarity and humour.


Missing out no plausible catastrophic scenario, Parsons presents all the best advice and information needed to survive Armageddon. 


Publisher: Rough Guides/Penguin

Delivery: 30 April 2011

Pub Date: Autumn 2012

Status: Draft manuscript

Length: 80,000 words


World rights: Rough Guides/Penguin



Absolutely Everything You Needed to Know About Science


SCIENCE 1001 provides clear and concise explanations of the most fundamental and fascinating scientific concepts. Distilled into 1,001 bite-sized mini-essays arranged thematically, this unique reference book moves steadily from the basics through to the most advanced of ideas, making it the ideal guide for novices and science enthusiasts.


Paul Parsons's incredibly comprehensive guide spans all of the key scientific disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, geology, space, health and medicine, social science, information science , the applied sciences and futurology. From Newton's elemental laws of motion and the physics of black holes, through the fundamental particles of matter, to the extraordinary Human Genome Project and the controversial possibilities of cloning and gene therapy, Parsons demystifies the key concepts of science in the simplest language and answers its big questions: Will scientists find a cure for AIDS? How did the universe begin? And will we conquer space?


Concluding with an exciting glimpse of what's to come for science – from the possibility of time travel to the spectre of transhumanism – this really is the only science book you'll ever need.


Publisher: Quercus

Pub Date: 2 September 2010

Length: 400 pages


World rights: Quercus


Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke

Longlisted for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books 2007

There should be a copy in the glove compartment of every Tardis – Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor

Snappy, lively, journalistic… imaginative too – NATURE

As instructive as it is entertaining – Sir Patrick Moore, THE TIMES

Have you ever wondered if a sonic screwdriver could really work? How Cybermen make little Cybermen? Or where the toilets are on the Tardis?

Doctor Who arrived on British television screens in 1963. Since then, across light-years and through millennia, the journeys of the Time Lord have show us alien worlds, strange life-forms, futuristic technology and mind-bending cosmic phenomenon. Viewers cowered terrified of Daleks, were amazed with the wonders of time travel and sped through black holes into other universes and new dimensions.

The breadth and imagination of the Doctor’s adventures have made the show one of science fiction’s truly monumental success stories. Paul Parsons – a lifelong worshipper of Doctor Who – explains the scientific reality behind the fiction in this highly acclaimed unofficial guide.

Publisher: Icon (UK)/Johns Hopkins University Press (US)
Pub Date: 30 March 2006 (UK)/5 May 2010 (US)
Length: 342 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US