Christopher Edge on Science and Wonder
Published on: 19 September 2016 Author: Christopher Edge
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright featured as one of our Bookbuzz books in 2016. The book was inspired by quantum physics specifically the Many Worlds Interpretation of parallel universes.
This concept is brilliantly explained at the 2 minutes 45 seconds mark in this video by MinutePhysics.
(Check out the MinutePhysics YouTube channel for more ace explanations of physics-related topics from filmmaker Henry Reich.) The idea of parallel worlds is a staple of children's books from the world of Narnia to the multiverse explored in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
I created a list of my Top 10 parallel universes in fiction for the Guardian Children's Books website and you can find this here. What's beautiful to me about the idea of parallel worlds is the fact that science suggests that they might actually exist. As storytellers we no longer have to climb through the wardrobe to take our readers into parallel universes, but can use science to show how these worlds could be real.
Both science and fiction help us to make sense of the world, with all its wonder and possibilities as well as its inevitable pain. Scientists such as Professor Brian Cox have used their expertise to popularize science using TV and radio programmes to help audiences in their millions understand more about the incredible Universe we live in. Professor Cox has been quoted as saying, 'Science is too important not to be part of popular culture' and I believe books have a role to play here too.
It was important to me that all the scientific concepts mentioned in The Many Worlds of Albie Bright are real and accurately described, so I had the story checked and approved by a friend who's a Professor of particle physics and also works at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. I hope the fact that the science in the book is real helps make the story even more exciting.
Science explores the big questions about life, the universe and everything - the same questions that can underpin the very best stories. Why are we here? What makes us human? What comes next?
Science can help to create a real sense of wonder. A gift for storytellers.
Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 17 titles.