Monday, March 22, 2010

Meeting One of My Favorite Authors

In the exhibit area of the the conference I am attending, many publishers have booths set up to sell their books. Their top goal is to sell textbooks to the many chemistry professors that attend the national meetings of the American Chemical Society.

As I was walking past the WH Freeman booth I noticed one of my favorite authors standing in the booth. Peter Atkins, a professor at Oxford, is the author of five textbooks and seven popular science books. He had four revised editions of his textbooks published in the past year and one of his popular books published in 2007 Four Laws That Drive the Universe will be published in a new edition as part of the Oxford series "A Very Short Introduction" series of small books about a single topic. So far more than a hundred books on everything from Aristotle to Quakers to Quantum Mechanics to Vikings are part of the series. Atkins will be 70 this year and said he is retired now, which gives him more time to write.

One of the articles I am currently working on is a column about Peter Atkins popular science books. So it was a very pleasant surprise to meet him. I bought the latest edition of his textbook Physical Chemistry and now own an autographed copy.

                                                      Dr. Peter Atkins

It was not entirely Geek day. In the afternoon I rode up Mt. Tam to the first crest where you can turn left for the West Peak and right for the East Peak. On the way down I passed a pair of Toyota Tundras between turns. That was fun. On the way to the mountain I just crested the hill between Golden Gate Park and Marin. A powder blue scooter went past me as we started down the other side. I drafted and passed him before we got into the town below. It's great to be back on big hills.

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