Brighton Science Festival

Richard Robinson & Are We Nearly Here Yet

Fifteen years ago I started up the Brighton Science Festival, and soon realized, from the speakers who came, that the task scientists have been working on for the past 500 years – to explain life, the Universe and everything – has been completed. For the first time in the history of the Universe the full facts are known about the history of the Universe!

So my mission has been to write it all down – 14 billion years of it squeezed it into 14,000 words; making it simple enough to be understandable to 9-11 year-olds, detailed enough to be plausible to their parents, fun enough to make them laugh and astonishing enough to make them curious for more.

Find out more about the book HERE

I’ve written and/or illustrated 20 books, including ‘Why The Toast Always Lands Butter-side Down’ about the science of Murphy’s Law, which was translated into fourteen languages, and OUP’s Science Magic series for 9-11 year-olds, which was short listed for the Royal Society Science Book of the Year award in 2000. I also write regular newsletters for BrightonScience, (examples on


There always has been a strong need in humanity to find out where we came from, so we can make sense of what we are, and prepare for what is to come. But the story has not yet been told clearly. All the books for young readers that I have seen are either too naive or too complicated. Mine is, I hope, a happy medium.

My inspiration was the Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling. I love his simplicity, rhythms and cadences, I can’t match his style but, if it’s any compensation, my stories are just EXACTLY so!

My main discovery has been that we have the history of the Universe written through us, like a stick of Brighton rock. Amazing! I wish I knew all that when I was a kid. Hiccups; wisdom teeth; black skin and white skin; ‘Asian’ eyes; goose bumps; viruses; yawning: all reminders of previous lives.

It will have a web site to handle the material that can only be hinted at in the story. At every turn, there are questions, the answers to which will lead to more questions for the curious reader. Online, the book’s themes and threads can grow and evolve in their own way.

And I will run the live presentations wherever I can. That is largely how I wrote it in the first place.


“Absolutely superb. Fantastic. Kept everyone entertained. Learned a lot.”

“Needed more time; could have listened for ever!”

“Brilliant. I laughed and learned!

“Informative  + mindblowing, really well illustrated, but also great storytelling + a fab show. Thank you. I thought it was marvellous, intrepid, funny, very interactive. No insults toward this marvellous adventure into life. It was very informative”.

“…you made it great fun for our 7 year-old. Thanks for creating some ‘wonder’ that will spur lots of questions … which we love”.