I'm a Royal Society University Research Fellow at The University of Manchester, UK. I do my research work on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. My main interest at the moment is running an upgrade project which aims to install new proton detectors close to the LHC beams almost half a kilometer away from the ATLAS collision point. We hope to install these detectors at the end of 2010. I was awarded a Chair in Particle Physics at the University of Manchester in April 2008.
Before getting my PhD from Manchester I was a professional musician. Perhaps my most notorious contribution to music was as a member of the UK band D:ream; our song "Things Can Only Get Better" was used by Tony Blair as his election theme song in 1997.
My other main interest in life is promoting science to as wide an audience as possible. I began presenting radio and TV programs for the BBC in 1998. I've recently completed three "Horizon" documentaries, "What on Earth is Wrong with Gravity?", "What Time is it?" and "How to Build a Star on Earth". I'm currently beginning filming on a landmark 5-part BBC documentary on our solar system, to be broadcast in 2010. I was the scientific consultant on Danny Boyle's 2007 movie "Sunshine". I was elected an International Fellow of the Explorers Club in 2002, and received the British Association Lord Kelvin Award for the promotion of science in 2006. I have written articles for many magazines and newspapers including The New Statesman, The Observer, The Times and The Telegraph in the UK and Popular Science magazine in the US. My book "Why Does E=mc2?" will be published by DaCapo press in spring 2009.
I give as many public talks as I can. I recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, and will be speaking at Davos in 2009. And of course, I spoke at TED 2008.
An idea worth spreading
Understanding how the universe works is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Our civilization is indescribably valuable and desperately fragile. Our only chance to survive in our dangerous universe is to better understand nature and to develop the technology to both protect and control it.
I'm passionate about
I'm passionate about ensuring that both government and public support for scientific research and education is significantly increased.