YouTube star and professor Antonio Padilla’s debut on extraordinary numbers has gone to Allen Lane in a “significant”, seven hour pre-empt.
Laura Stickney, publishing director at Penguin Press, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Allen Lane for Fantasic Numbers and Where to Find Them by the leading theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Stickney negotiated the deal with Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit UK, in a “significant” pre-empt within seven hours of receiving the proposal.
Foreign rights are being managed by Zoe Nelson at Janklow & Nesbit UK, with offers and pre-empts already received in several territories. North American rights have sold to FSG. It will be published in autumn 2021.
The “thrilling book will use the most extraordinary numbers in physics to build a picture of our current best understanding of how the universe works,” according to the synopsis. “Graham’s Number is so large that if you thought about it in the wrong way, your head would collapse into a black hole; Ramanujan’s proof, perhaps the most embarrassing secret in all of science, demonstrates that if you add up all the positive whole numbers up to infinity, the answer comes out as negative one twelfth.” The debut is billed as “a physicist’s electrifying, head-twisting tour of the fundamental nature of reality, via relativity, quantum theory, and the problem of the cosmological constant: that our two best ways of understanding the universe contradict one another”.
Stickney said: “I knew as soon as I began reading Tony Padilla’s fantastically entertaining and clever proposal that we needed to move quickly. He is a rare find – a brilliantly accomplished theoretical physicist who can also communicate the most mind-expanding and cutting edge concepts in his field with humour and playfulness, and in a way that everyone can grasp. We are thrilled to publish his first book at Allen Lane and hope to publish many more in the future.”
Padilla, an award-winning professor of physics at the University of Nottingham, added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have teamed up with Laura and everyone else at Allen Lane. I’ve already had loads of fun thinking about these fantastic numbers. They’ve taken me to places I would never otherwise have to thought to go - I can’t wait to write about it.”
Padilla has held research positions at the University of Oxford and the University of Barcelona and has published almost 60 academic papers in leading academic journals. In 2016, he shared the Buchalter Cosmology Prize for his work on the cosmological constant. He has held a University Research Fellowship from the Royal Society and his research is currently supported by the Leverhulme Trust and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. He is also well-known as a regular presenter on two YouTube channels: Numberphile and Sixty Symbols.