by Andrew Robinson




















Above left is the introduction to my Nature review of a biopic, The Man Who Knew Infinity, about the uniquely brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, published in 2016; above right, the introduction to my British Museum Magazine feature, "The origins of writing", published in 2020.


The following general-interest reviews of books, exhibitions and films, plus features including profiles and obituaries, were published in British and American newspapers and magazines.




2007: "Einstein on and off the soapbox", New Scientist
--review of Einstein on Politics by David Rowe and Robert Schulmann and Einstein: A Biography by Walter Isaacson


2008: "Rocket man"The Financial Times
--review of Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael J. Neufeld


2010: "How to behave beyond the grave", Nature
--review of British Museum exhibition, Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead
2011: "High society", History Today

--review of Wellcome Collection exhibition, High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture


2011: "The captain and the castaway", The Independent
--review of Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox and the Creation of Myth by Katherine Frank


2014: "The brewer's tale", Current World Archaeology
--review of The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer by William Bostwick


2015: "Ringing changes on vital information", Physics World
--review of Information Age: Six Networks That Changed the World edited by Tilly Blyth


2015: "The ascent of English", Nature
--review of Scientific Babel: The Language of Science from the Fall of Latin to the Rise of English by Michael Gordin
--listen to a Nature podcast about the review


2015: "Reality change and check", The Lancet

--review of film, Steve Jobs

2016: "Artist and empire", History Today
--review of Tate Britain exhibition, Artist and Empire: Facing Britain's Imperial Past

2016: "In search of Ramanujan", Nature
--review of film, The Man Who Knew Infinity 

2016: "Asylums and after", Science

--review of Wellcome Collection exhibition, Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond


2016: "Four shakes a second", The Daily Telegraph

--review of Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life by Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher


2017: "All around Turing", New Scientist

--review of The Turing Guide by Jack Copeland, Jonathan Bowen, Mark Sprevak and Robin Wilson


2017: "The cradle of humanity", Current World Archaeology

--review of The Cradle of Humanity: How the Changing Landscape of Africa Made Us So Smart by Mark Maslin


2017: "Hipposandals, plague pits and chamberpots", The Lancet

--review of Museum of London exhibition, Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail


2017: "Prophet of the space age", The Daily Telegraph

--review of Arthur C. Clarke: Odyssey of a Visionary by Neil McAleer


2018: "Einstein goes east", Science

--review of The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine, and Spain, 1922-1923 edited by Ze'ev Rosenkranz


2018: "Revisiting the culture wars", Nature

--review of A Future in Ruins: Unesco, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace by Lynn Meskell


2018: "A physicist's final reflections", Science

--review of Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking


2019: "How Victorian England inspired Vincent van Gogh and his art", The Lancet

--review of Tate Britain exhibition, Van Gogh and Britain and film on Van Gogh, At Eternity's Gate


2020: "Apocalyptic archaeology", Nature

--review of Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon by Eric Cline


2020: "Indian sun", Sight and Sound

--review of Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar by Oliver Craske


​2020: "Net entanglement", Physics World

--review of The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us by James Ball


2020: "How did ancient cities weather crises?", Nature

--review of The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History by Greg Woolf

2020: "The ascent of Wikipedia", Science

--review of Wikipedia @ 20 edited by Joseph Reagle and Jackie Koerner

2021: "Deciphering Aztec hieroglyphs", Minerva

--review of Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs: A Guide to Nahuatl Writing by Gordon Whittaker



1998: "'I've been in revolt all my life'", The Times

--profile of Henri Cartier-Bresson on his 90th birthday


1998: "Cutting edge of cinema", The Guardian
--obituary of Akira Kurosawa
2000: "Mayan treasures deep in the jungle", The Times
--feature on visiting Mayan art in Mexico

2002: "'I had no idea that madness in the Islamic world had gone so far'", The Times

--profile of V. S. Naipaul on his 70th birthday

2004: "Henri Cartier-Bresson", The Guardian
--obituary of Henri Cartier-Bresson

2005: "Ray of light still shines in the dark", The Times
--feature on the 50th anniversary of Satyajit Ray's first film, Pather Panchali

2008: "A century of puzzling", Nature

--feature on the centenary of the discovery of the still-undeciphered Phaistos Disc

2010: "Perspiration, inspiration, and the 10-year rule", The Lancet

--feature on the nature of genius

2012: "Ravi Shankar", The Independent

--obituary of Ravi Shankar

2014: "How do we know how to measure longitude?", (BBC) Focus
--feature on the history of measuring longitude in the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Prize

2014: "The nature of light", (BBC) Focus

​--feature on the long history of trying to understand light


2015: "Restored Apu Trilogy returns Satyajit Ray's humane work to theaters", The New York Times,
--feature on the US re-release of a restored version of Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy

2015: "Lost and found", History Today

--feature introducing the ancient Indus civilisation (cover story)


2016: "London shaken and stirred", BBC History Magazine
--feature on the London earthquakes of 1750

2016: "Behind the book: Earth-Shattering Events", London Library Magazine

--feature on some influential London Library books about earthquakes, great and small

2016: "Forgotten Utopia", New Scientist 
--feature on the ancient Indus civilisation's puzzling absence of warfare (cover story)


2017: "He wrote the future", Nature
--profile of Arthur C. Clarke on his birth centenary


2018: "Thus spake Albert", Aeon
--feature on why we love to quote, and misquote, Albert Einstein

2018: "Tom Lehrer at 90", Nature
--profile of Tom Lehrer on his 90th birthday


2019: "The experiment that made Einstein famous", The Wall Street Journal
--feature on the centenary of the 1919 solar eclipse and its confirmation of general relativity


2019: "How Britain saved Einstein", BBC History Magazine

--feature on Albert Einstein's escape to Britain from Nazi death threats in 1933


2020: "The origins of writing", British Museum Magazine

--feature on whether writing had a single geographical origin or many origins around the world

2021: "Shining a light on Satyajit Ray, Financial Times

--feature on the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray


The following, more specialised, reviews and features focus on Science and the History of Science, Archaeology and Scripts, and Indian History and Culture.




2005: "A polymath's dilemma", Nature

--feature on Thomas Young, and polymathy in science


2014: "How do we know the structure of the periodic table?", (BBC) Focus
--feature on the history of the periodic table of the chemical elements

2014: "Good scientists and honest people", Physics World
--review of Nuclear Dawn: F. E. Simon and the Race for Atomic Weapons in World War II by Kenneth D. McRae​

2016: "The Marconi connection", New Scientist
--review of Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World by Marc Raboy


2016: "Use a toad to catch a quake", New Scientist

--feature on Zhang Heng, inventor of the world's first seismoscope


2017: "The mathematics of life, death, and beauty", The Lancet

--review of the Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum and its catalogue by David Rooney


2017: "Scientist, theologian, and heretic", The Lancet

--review of Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton by Rob Iliffe


2019: "The eclipse that made Einstein famous", Science

--review of Einstein's War: How Relativity Triumphed amid the Vicious Nationalism of World War I by Matthew Stanley and No Shadow of a Doubt: The 1919 Eclipse that Confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity by Daniel Kennefick


2019: "The tempestuous genius of Fritz Zwicky", Physics World

--review of Zwicky: The Outcast Genius Who Unmasked the Universe by John Johnson Jr


​2020: "Books in Brief" (1), and "Books in Brief" (2), Nature

--short reviews of ten books from many scientific disciplines

2020: "The code-breakers who led the rise of computing", Nature

--review of Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency by John Ferris




2002: "Cracking the Linear B code", BBC History Magazine

--feature on the 50th anniversary of Michael Ventris's decipherment of Linear B


2006: "Visible marks of the move from sound to stone", The Times Higher Education Supplement 
--review of The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process edited by Stephen Houston and Ideogram by J. Marshall Unger

2009: "Decoding antiquity: eight scripts that still can’t be read", New Scientist
--feature based on Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World’s Undeciphered Scripts (cover story)

2010: "Corpus of Indus seals and inscriptions", Antiquity
--review of vol. 3 of the Indus seals Corpus edited by Asko Parpola, B. M. Pande and Petteri Koskikallio
2014: "Eight mummies, eight stories", The Lancet
--review of British Museum Egyptian exhibition, Ancient Lives, New Discoveries
2014: "The ark before Noah", Current World Archaeology
--review of The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood by Irving Finkel​
2017: "Gibberish or code?", The Daily Telegraph
--review of The Voynich Manuscriptwith a foreword by Stephen Skinner and introduction by Rafal T. Prinke and Rene Zandbergen
--review of Giza and the Pyramids by Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass
2018: "Hero of the hieroglyphs", Minerva
--feature on Jean-François Champollion
2019: "Excavating Uruk", Science
--review of Uruk: First City of the Ancient World  edited by Timothy Potts
2020: "Deciphering the riddle", British Museum Magazine
--review of The Riddle of the Rosetta: How an English Polyglot and a French Polymath Discovered the Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz
1984: "The Jewel in the Crown", Sight and Sound
--feature on the making of the Granada Television series about the British Raj, The Jewel in the Crown 

2011: "Behind India's technological boom", Nature
--review of Dead Ringers: How Outsourcing is Changing the Way Indians Understand Themselves
by Shehzad Nadeem
2013: "Enlightening Ray", The Lancet
--review of a complete retrospective of films by Satyajit Ray at the British Film Institute

2013: "A too-soft critique of India's growth", Science
--review of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen
2013: "The scientific Buddha: his short and happy life", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
--review of The Scientific Buddha: His Short and Happy Life by Donald S. Lopez Jr

2014: "Charm and muddle", The Times Literary Supplement
--review of A Strange Kind of Paradise:India Through Foreign Eyes by Sam Miller

2016: "A people's history", BBC  History Magazine
--review of Incarnations: India in 50 Lives by Sunil Khilnani​

2017: "Little more than tea and cricket", History Today

--review of Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor


2019: "Unicorns from Utopia", British Museum Magazine

--feature on the Indus civilisation


2020: "Buddhism illuminated", The Lancet

--review of British Library exhibition, Buddhism

2020: "Satyajit Ray's bona fide Bengali", Sight and Sound

--obituary of Soumitra Chatterjee

​2021: "A century of Ray", Frontline

--feature on the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray