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I recently read a “popular science” book on a topic that I felt I needed to learn more about. The book was well-written, ideas were clearly explained, and I finished the book knowing a lot more about the history of the subject. However, I’m not sure I understand the key ideas in the book any better. […]

I’ve found the videos below useful for showing my students how to read a vernier scale: Click here for a worksheet to practise reading these scales. Click here for online practise questions

It’s important that A-level Physics students can handle numbers in standard form and use prefixes with units. Below are some resources students can use to help them revise these skills: Video on how to convert numbers into / from standard form: Click here for online questions to practise converting to and from standard form. Video on how […]

I’ve just started teaching my second lot of year 12 students the new (AQA) Physics A-level. I believe the move from coursework / assessed practicals in the form of EMPAs etc. is a positive one but, like many colleagues, I’m still finding my way when it comes to the best approach to take to ensure the best outcomes […]

There have been a spate of articles recently about the “crisis” in teacher recruitment. Such pieces cite a number of factors which might be responsible, but one that stood out to me was the suggestion that there is a “trend for middle-aged teachers to become private tutors” which is “stripping the profession of experienced people”. I’m […]

Circular motion can be a tough topic to teach because some aspects of it are counterintuitive. This is a really simple and elegant way to get across some of the key ideas needed to grasp the physics of what’s going on when an object moves in uniform circular motion. The film was shot and edited […]

I know I will cry when I eventually leave the school where I’ve worked for the last decade or so. I won’t be able to help it – I’ve cried on my final day at every school I’ve ever belonged, as a student or teacher. The last time was when I left my second teaching […]

“Our ability to understand the universe and our position in it is one of the glories of the human species. Our ability to link mind to mind by language, and especially to transmit our thoughts across the centuries is another. Science and literature, then, are the two achievements of Homo Sapiens that most convincingly justify […]

Lots of my A-level students are unsure what they want to do at university or for a career. I believe work experience in science or engineering during the summer following Year 12 can help them make up their minds. Over the past few years, I’ve managed to use personal contacts to arrange placements for a number […]

It’s been a while since The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published but I’ve continued writing about Atheism and Humanism in New Humanist magazine and elsewhere and I have become a trustee of the British Humanist Association. However, I’ve been focussing on my work in science education and am proud to announce that Demo: The Movie, […]

“Love songs have been a majority of all songs ever written” and “Love in music has been expressed in all cultures and among all gender, race, and age groups” are claims made by social scientists who study this sort of thing. I suspect no-one reading this will be surprised by these statements or find them […]

The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on the draft criteria for GCSE Science. Physics textbook writer David Sang, who I’ve worked with in making a number of physics demonstration films, has some concerns which he’s allowed me to share here: I have specifically commented on the Physics sections as I feel unqualified to […]

I remember the first time I saw my name in the credits of a TV programme – it was for the BBC’s Blood of the Vikings. It felt awesome. A few years later, I was lucky enough to see the words “A film by Alom Shaha” on the big screen at the Ritzy Picturehouse, where […]

A little reading around the subject reveals that some of the Biblical stories featuring the Abrahamic God are almost certainly loose adaptations of earlier myths. Noah was not the first character in a story who had to deal with a massive flood, and Jesus was not the first to be born when a woman was […]

Scientists often get annoyed, or even angry, when creationists claim “evolution is just a theory”. It’s often unclear whether creationists are deliberately using a widespread confusion about the use of the word “theory” in science to their advantage or whether they genuinely believe that the theory of evolution is simply a guess, an idea, that […]

I’ve been delighted to find that The Young Atheist’s Handbook is being used in schools by teachers like Laura Cooper who wrote to tell me: “I recently read your book, The Young Atheists Handbook, and would just like to say as a teacher of Religious Studies how useful I have found it. It is exactly […]

積ん読 This is the Japanese word “tsundoku”, meaning “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with such other unread books” (amazing that such a short word can mean such a thing, but I’ll trust that the internet isn’t lying to me on this occasion). I have such a […]

I received the following email from a Turkish reader of The Young Atheist’s Handbook. She has kindly let me share it here: Dear Mr. Shaha I read your book in Turkish some time ago. When I read your statement that you don’t know if your book can translate into your mother tongue or not, I […]

The Turkish edition of The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published a few weeks ago. Over there, the publishers have gone with a different title, Tanrının Öldüğü Gün (“The Day God Died”), taken from chapter one of the English edition. Here’s the introduction I wrote for it: There is a Turkish grocery store in my neighbourhood […]

What’s the point of Atheism? That’s the title of a panel discussion I’ll be taking part in at this weekend’s “Battle of Ideas” at the Barbican, organised by the Institute of Ideas. The blurb on the event’s webpage asks “how relevant is [atheism] in a society where fewer and fewer people are being raised with […]

  • John Richards Oct 20, 2012 Reply

    It’s more than that for me. It’s about ridding the world of the daily harm done in the name of non-evidential gods.

  • Iqbal Dec 7, 2012 Reply

    I so wanted to like your book, Alom, but I desperately turned page after page looking for an argument and found it not vacuous. Having, like you, thrown away the Qur’an I’m now looking for substance — I think I’ve finally found it in Nietzche (thank you, Bertrand Russell!) I wish I could recommend your book to friends who have yet to question Islam, but it sadly has enough holes to make a fishing net.
    Disappointed, but I acknowledge and commend your courage in leaving Islam.

  • Angus Gregson Jan 13, 2014 Reply

    I appreciate the honesty and openness of your account; thank you for that.
    The “non-evidential” phrase that a previous respondent used is key. You’ve talked about the wonderful emotion of love – well expressed in one of your video clips. But if I’d never experienced falling in love, or being in love, I’d have no experience, no evidence, to believe in what you’re saying. But I wouldn’t rubbish this “love” thing, or denounce those that believe in it. I’d accept that there’s something that makes a difference to those people who do believe it, who have experienced it; it’s just that I haven’t.
    So it is with faith in God. I’m a christian and a physicist. God is someone I’ve experienced and who makes a profound difference to my life, completely like being in love. I can talk about what it feels like, what it means to me, but I can’t give you that experience in the same way – I can’t get you to experience the love I feel for another person. Sorry.
    As a physicist, my faith simply makes the universe and everything in it make a lot more sense. It’s a bit trite to say “physics describes how, God makes sense of why” but there we go.
    “Religion” – humans systems constructed around faith – are certainly responsible for a lot of problems (but let’s face it, so are most human systems; capitalism doesn’t seem to be working too well either, does it?) The mistake is to conflate religion with faith, or even God.
    As a scientist I hope you’re always open to new experiences (which we often call “experiments”), new understanding, And hopefully those who have never experienced love will do so too.

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