Penguin has acquired a title written by solar physicist Doctor Lucie Green, which looks at the workings of the sun, as Viking continues to grow its science publishing. Green has appeared on programmes such as "Stargazing Live: Back to Earth" with Professor Brian Cox.
Commissioning editor Will Hammond pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights—including ANZ and exclusive Europe—in the title, 15 Million Degrees: A Journey to the Centre of the Sun, for a high five-figure sum from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit, heading off four other publishers. Viking will publish in spring 2014.
Hammond said Green is a "research scientist at the forefront of solar physics" as well as a "truly gifted communicator", and rare as a female scientist in the public eye. He added: "The current appetite for popular science seems only to be growing, and 15 Million Degrees is sure to inspire every sort of reader with its universal subject. "
The title will combine the latest solar research with stories and facts from scientists through the ages, describing where the sun's energy comes from, and how it has shaped the world, as well as protecting and threatening it.
He said: "The book is the story of our local star, and it is a mind-boggling journey into something that you think is quite well-known, but is quite mind-bending. We are really pushing hard on our core -science list. We're gathering together this group of youngish scientists with good media profiles, and riding this wave of resurgent interest in science."
Other science authors at Viking include Adam Rutherford, Hugh Aldersey-Williams and Mark Miodownik.
Green is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at University College London's Mullard Space -Science Laboratory and works regularly with space agencies around the world, including Nasa. She also sits on the Royal Society's education committee, and UCL's steering committee for the beacon for public engagement. She has written for the Times, Sky at Night and Astronomy Now.