Nigel Calder, who has died aged 82, became one of Britain's most distinguished science writers during decades of almost explosive advance in all fields of global science. He was one of the founders, and for a while editor, of New Scientist, one of the world's most successful science news journals. He wrote and produced a series of BBC television spectaculars that explored this planet, the solar system, the galaxy and the universe beyond, and in the course of 50 years he wrote or edited at least 37 books.My favorite of his books is The English Channel, a book where he sailed his sloop up the French side of the English Channel and then back down the English side. Along the way he described the seascape, the history, and current events in the areas he passed.
He had a gift for economy, clarity and vividness perfectly suited to the changing needs of journalism and the increasing complexity of discovery. Although he began his career as a physicist, he understood the important vital divide between journalism and research, and even half apologised for testing a hypothesis with his own experiment, "albeit reluctantly," he said afterwards, "because I do not think science writers should dabble in research as a rule, any more than lobby correspondents should stage a coup d'etat".
He was also a climate skeptic, and a popularizer of Henrik Svensmark's hypothesis that climate change is driven by changes in the Sun's magnetic field.
Rest in peace.