Home    Who am I?    CV    Organisations    Contact    Agents      Podcasts      Events     TV     Books/e-books/DVDs    Radio      Articles     In the Press     Woodwork      Photos     Loos     Kids     Odd but interesting    

My latest Books

HISTORY (3rd Edition)

Dorling Kindersley, Sept. 2015.

This 620 page, hard back, book brings the people and events of history to life, History makes the past accessible and relevant. Featuring the important events and figures that have shaped the present, from the very origins of humanity to key contemporary issues, such as the development of the internet and social media. It reveals common threads and forces that have shaped the present day.


The Science Book - BIG Ideas Simply Explained

Dorling Kindersley July 2014

Part of the popular Big Ideas series, The Science Book explores the history of science, how scientists have sought to explain our incredible universe and how amazing scientific discoveries have been made. I was Consultant Editor for this book and also wrote about one fifth of the content.

Inventions: A History of Key Inventions that Changed the World Pop Up Book of Inventions

A great book for children. Discover how the world's greatest inventions work in this funny and accessible novelty book. If you've ever wondered why the pencil came into existence, or how a steam engine works, or when we started using flushing toilets, this book has all the answers.





Published by Mitchell Beazley (3 Oct 2011)

The Book of Time

From water clocks to atomic chronometers, people have always tried to keep track of time, while wondering what it is, and why women, plants, and fish have cycles linked to the Moon. Does time really slow down when you are bored and speed up in emergencies? Was there a beginning of time, and will there be an end?

Buy now from Amazon: The Book of Time: Everything You Need to Know About the Biggest Idea in the Universe



Published by Dorling Kindersley (1 May 2012)


An epic visual guide to the great engineers who have built our world. Full of great tales of achievement and ingenuity, "Engineers" celebrates 80 of the greatest engineers that ever lived and the stamp they have left on the world.


"Engineers" is for anyone who is intrigued by the power of the pioneering mind.


Buy now from Amazon.co.uk


My e-books (now available on Kindle) and DVDs

Product Details

Henry Winstanley and the Eddystone Lighthouse

The amazing joker who came to an extraordinary end. Read a review here. Written with Emily Troscianko



Product Details

100 local heroes

Adam Hart-Davis presents the best of British heroes: brilliant and often eccentric pioneers of science, invention and technology. Taken from his popular television series.

Product Details

EUREKAAARGH! A Spectacular Collection of Inventions That Nearly Worked

This work presents 100 stories of weird and wonderful inventions, full-blown and well-developed disasters of what seemed to be brilliant inventions that fell at the first fence, or sometimes the second, like the first steam-powered submarine, still lying on the sea bed off North Wales.


Click below to buy Kindle Version from Amazon.co.uk

Eurekaaargh! A Spectacular Collection of Inventions That Nearly Worked

Product Details

Talking Science

Adam Hart Davis has interviewed some of the most influential scientists and thinkers of our time. In this fascinating insight into modern science he presents the stories behind the science, the difficulties behind the discoveries and the future of the findings, as explained by the people themselves. "...a good book for anyone who wants to see how real science is done..." (Focus magazine, No.148, March 2005)

Click below to buy Kindle Version from Amazon.co.uk

Talking Science

Stardate [DVD] (Open University)

This DVD contains 3 programmes from the BBC 2 series Stardate. Mission to Titan which follows the Huygens probe that was set free on Christmas Day 2004 to begin its 20 day parachute-assisted descent through Titan's atmosphere. It's aim to collect data as the parachutes slow the probe from supersonic speeds. Deep Impact - As NASA crashes a space-probe into a comet, blasting a crater the size of Wembley stadium, this award-winning Stardate is broadcast from mission headquarters bringing the latest pictures and reactions from the project's scientists to the British public.

Click below to buy DVD from Amazon.co.uk

Stardate [DVD]

Product Details

Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide [DVD] [2007]


What happened during the Big Bang? Is there life elsewhere in the universe? How do you make a star? Are there other planets like Earth? The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide explores the latest frontiers of scientific discovery to explain the mysteries of the planets, stars and galaxies.

[Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV


Click below to buy DVD from Amazon

Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Product Details

What the past did for us

What the Past Did for Us accompanied a major 9-part series (see my TV page), in which I led you through the history of inventions while testing some of these in my 'studio'.



Click below to buy Kindle Version from Amazon.co.uk

What the Past Did for Us: A Brief History of Ancient Inventions  



And some of my other books.

Science - The Definitive Visual Guide

Fascinating, challenging and enlightening, this book explores all aspects of scientific discovery from the Stone Age to the present day. From the development of levers and pulleys to the latest, cutting edge developments in cloning and nanotechnology. It captures the subject in a uniquely accessible, exciting and visual way.

Published September 2009 by Dorling Kindersley

Stringlopedia - unravelling the history of a twisted piece of twine

Stringlopedia gathers together every strand of string (and its big brother, rope) to weave a fascinating overview of this multi-faceted yet often under-valued material. Among the mass of strands you will find the world's biggest ball of twine, a stringy history and the origin of the phrase "to cut the Gordian knot". On a more practical note, learn how to do magic tricks, weigh a pig or string-roast a pigeon. Instructions to tie your laces in seven different ways, create an impressive string figure or bind up your enemy will help you to swing into action and immerse yourself in string. So string along with Adam Hart-Davis as he teaches you the ropes and untangles your string-phobia.

Published May 2009 by Readers Digest Association

The Cosmos - A Beginner's Guide








From atom-smashing to alien-hunting, this book explores the latest ideas and experiments in cosmology.

For my new television series, I travelled around the world to meet the people and the apparatus at the cutting edge – the gamma-ray-burst team who are on constant readiness for text messages from a satellite, the physicists deep underground at CERN near Geneva, the engineers constructing spacecraft in Amsterdam, the astronomers above the clouds in Chile, the ingenious planet-hunter SuperWASP on top of an old volcano in the Canary Islands, and the SETI team building a vast telescope in northern California in order to listen for messages from outer space. Is there life elsewhere in the universe, or are we alone?

Read the review and interview published in Astronomy Now magazine.

Published 21 June 2007 by BBC Books.

History - The Definitive Visual Guide

I was the editorial consultant for the vast new history book published by Dorling Kindersley.






Published by Dorling Kindersley on 30 October 2007

I did not write this book – there were many contributors – but I did read the whole thing and made suggestions, and I was mightily impressed.

The history I learned at school was a load of lists – dates and names, like the kings and queens of England (‘Willy, Willy, Harry, Stee, Harry, Dick, John, Harry III…’). As a result I hated it and never saw the connections between the various strands. I now realize that history is important, and that we can all learn from the triumphs and especially from the mistakes of our ancestors. This book paints broad pictures of the great sweep of history, as well as providing sharp biographies of the most important men and women who shaped the world. It’s a family reference book which teases out both the sparks of wars and revolutions, and the deep roots of great civilizations. 

Read the review in The Times and my article in Local History Magazine.

Just Another Day








Have you ever wondered why the shower curtain always billows inwards? Why bran flakes make a good breakfast? Or why 'non-iron' shirts don't need ironing? These are just a few of the hundreds of intriguing questions I provide answers to in this fascinating book of knowledge.

Just Another Day follows me through my typical day, as I reveal not only the science and technology we are surrounded by in our everyday lives, but also the history behind inventions. This book is packed full of wonderful facts, such as how a modern radio-controlled alarm clock works compared with the first one ever made - by Ktesibios in Alexandria in the third century BC - as well as the real function of toothpaste and what our ancestors used before such a thing was available.

Published on 21 September 2006 by Orion.

My thanks go to the British Library for assisting in parts of my research.

Taking the Piss





Published on 10 October 2006 by The Chalford Press.

Nine years ago I offered a publisher a quartet of reference books – EncycLOOpedia, EncycloPOOdia, EncycloPEEdia, and Enfarta, but they turned me down, and all that came out was a little book about lavatories, called Thunder, Flush, and Thomas Crapper. It would have been longer, but my editor was ruthless, and told me to cut the crap. 

Seven years later my radio producer John Byrne, champion of wacky ideas, suggested we should make a radio programme called Taking the Piss out of London (see radio). We did, and it won an award, and a publisher then asked whether I could write a book about it. Luckily I had both my old files and an enthusiastic co-author (Emily Troscianko), and we set to work. There turns out to be a mountain – or perhaps a lake – of material about urine, just waiting to be sucked up. Peeing is such a routine function in life that people have not only found weird and wonderful ways and places to do it, and a plethora of uses for the stuff, but have also written about it extensively, and used urine in every medium of art. This is not a comprehensive account – we have left out more than we could cram in – but we hope it is an enjoyable taster. 

Written with Emily Troscianko. Illustrations courtesy of Jolyon Troscianko.

Why Does a Ball Bounce? And 100 other questions from the world of science

Why does a ball bounce?

and 100 other questions from the world of science was published by Ebury Press in September 2005. It is full of my own photographs, with a scientific question about each, and answers to most.


Talking Science





I interviewed some of the most influential scientists and thinkers of our time and let them tell me about their passion for their work.  I talked to Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Bath, UK), Sir Michael Berry (Bristol, UK), Colleen Cavanaugh (Harvard, US), Richard Dawkins (Oxford, UK), Loren Graham (MIT, US), Richard Gregory (Bristol, UK), Eric Lander (MIT, US), Lord May of Oxford (UK), John Maynard Smith (Sussex, UK), Rosalind Picard (MIT, US), Peter Raven (St Louis, US), Sir Martin Rees (Cambridge, UK), Eugenie Scott (Oakland, US), and Lewis Wolpert (UCL, UK). Read a review here (South Coast Magazine, February 2005).

What the Past Did for Us






What the Past Did for Us accompanied a major 9-part series (see my TV page), in which I led you through the history of inventions while testing some of these in my 'studio'.


What the Tudors and Stuarts Did for Us

Product Details

What the Tudors and Stuarts did for us.

250 pages with wonderful pictures and more detail than in the TV series.


Henry Winstanley and the Eddystone Lighthouse

Product Details

The amazing joker who came to an extraordinary end. Read a review here.

written with Emily Troscianko

Also available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book



Thunder, flush and Thomas Crapper was published by Michael O'Mara in 1997.

I have written two books on the lavatory.

Even more of my books:

Mensa Math Sterling 2004

The World's Stupidest Inventions Michael O'Mara 2003

The Book of Victorian Heroes Sutton 2001

What the Victorians did for us Headline 2001

Chain Reactions National Portrait Gallery 2001

Local Heroes DIY Science (with Paul Bader) BBC 2000

100 Local Heroes (with Paul Bader) Sutton 1999

Eurekaaargh! inventions that failed Michael O'Mara 1999

More Local Heroes (with Paul Bader) Sutton 1998

Amazing Maths Puzzles Sterling 1998

The Local Heroes Book of British Ingenuity (with Paul Bader) Sutton 1997

Science Tricks Harper Collins 1997

Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper Michael O'Mara 1997

Test Your Psychic Powers (with Susan Blackmore) Thorsons 1995

World’s Weirdest “True” Ghost Stories Sterling (New York) 1991

Mathematical Eye Unwin Hyman 1989

Scientific Eye Bell & Hyman 1986

Where there’s life...  (with Hilary Lawson) Rainbird / Michael Joseph 1982

Don’t just sit there! Corgi Carousel 1980

For the Oxford Companion to the Body (2001)
I wrote the entries on Burp, Defecate, Farting, and Potty Training. 


Back Home

Page last updated: Monday, 08 February 2016 17:19