The Secret Science of Baby draft submitted

After almost two years of writing (and a few more years of planning on top), I finally submitted the draft for The Secret Science of Baby. I thought it would be a moment of pure elation, but instead it felt rather like an anticlimax. Maybe that is because all I did was press send on an e-mail and nothing really happened.

Most of the book was written during the pandemic, which brought its own set of challenges. Juggling homeschooling, the “day job” and then firing up enough brain cells in the evening once the kids had gone to bed to write coherent sentences was not easy (although it rarely is, to be fair).

On the other hand, doing something during the past year(s) that didn’t involve constantly watching dire news bulletins about COVID or doom scrolling on Twitter at least gave me something else to obsess about focus on.

I enjoyed (for the most) writing the book and hope that comes across in the final version once all the edits are complete. As the image above shows, it came in just shy of 82 000 words (93 000 including footnotes and references).

So, without giving too much away, below is a chapter outline of how it ended up.

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I’m writing a book about the physics of baby

Yes, you read the headline right — I’m very excited to announce that I am writing a book.  It is on something that has given me numerous sleepless nights and countless colds and illnesses over the past four years: babies.

The tome has the working title The Secret Science of Baby and will examine where physics and babies collide. By that I don’t mean accelerating little ones in a huge collider and seeing what comes out (probably a lot of poo and vomit), but rather where physicists are working on problems to better understand the “infant universe” — from the fluid mechanics of nappies, modelling the synchronicity of  contractions in the uterus to the vacuum physics of breastfeeding.

The Secret Science of Baby will cover many aspects about having and dealing with a baby from conception and pregnancy to cooing and, yes, even pooing.

Some of the topics that will be examined include how the first breath of a newborn can be described by a mathematical formula derived in the 1800s as well as the connection between swimming sperm and painting a wall. It will also touch on how the theory of phase transitions (such as that of water turning into ice) could be used to describe how babies acquire structured language.

Alongside the fascinating physics of baby, I will also include some personal anecdotes and, hopefully, funny stories about bringing up two little nippers.

The book will be published by the US publisher BenBella and many thanks go to Glenn Yeffeth for seeing the potential in this idea. The book will, fingers crossed, be out in 2022.

Keep an eye out for any updates on the blog, but given I need to write a book now, they may be few and far between (even more so than usual) but Twitter is usually the place I put my random musings.