Bloomsbury has scooped a “thrilling” work by accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy, telling the history of physics through its 12 foundational experiments.
Publishing director Alexis Kirschbaum bought UK and Commonwealth rights to The Matter of Everything: The 12 Experiments that Made the Modern World from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. It will be published as a super-lead in 2021. US rights were sold to Edward Kastenmeier at Knopf at auction.
“Sheehy will show us how in the 120 years since the inception of particle physics small leaps in understanding have changed our world in the most fundamental of ways,” the synopsis states. “Sheehy takes us into the laboratories where some of the biggest discoveries of the past century were made, forever changing our understanding of matter and giving rise to the technologies we have come to depend on – from the television to the iPhone, the MRI scanner to radiotherapy.”
Sheehy is a physicist, academic and science communicator who divides her time between the University of Oxford and the University of Melbourne. She said: “I’m so thrilled to be working with Alexis and Bloomsbury to bring this story to life. These scientists and their experiments are my scientific kinfolk, driven by their curiosity about questions which don't yet have answers. Yet no-one could have predicted what has emerged from this quest for understanding: the multitudes of game-changing new technologies that now underpin much of our lives. This a story I’m so excited to share and one that I hope will make us all think harder about the role of curiosity-driven research in our society.”
Kirschbaum added: “Most successful popular science books on physics tell us a highly conceptual story of the universe. What I find most compelling about Sheey’s book is the way she takes us into the laboratory, exploring the circumstances of the great achievements in physics, as well as the enormous impact on our civilisation of these 12 ground-breaking experiments. It’s thrilling.”