Although ‘Bird Brain’ is not out until August, it has already had it’s first citation. I met the comedian, actor and ex-scientist Ben Miller over a year ago, after he had a day out in my wife Nicky Clayton’s lab to learn about corvids. He was writing a book on aliens and wanted to find out more about the aliens we already have on Earth and what we might know about their intelligence. I met Ben after he invited Nicky to be his mystery guest on the BBC1 comedy show ‘Would I Lie To You?’ as someone who had taught him to speak to crows. You can view episode on YouTube. We met in the green room after the show, as well as at a dinner in Clare College, Cambridge and have kept int touch since.
When Ben completed his book ‘The Aliens Are Coming’, he sent draft copies to Nicky and me, as we were featured in it (Nicky much more than me), and I sent him a draft of my book in return. Ben kindly added my book to the list of Further Reading at the back of his book, and I was very pleased when he said of the few books included, that they were in his “humble opinion, not just great science writing, but great writing”.
Ben’s book was published in February, and is a very enjoyable read, with his trademark irreverent humour, but with a very solid base in strong science as testimony to his science background in solid state physics. I really recommend it. Ben and I may be doing something together in the future, so keep a look out on this space for details!