A princely has-been, burnt out but still flattered like royalty, Beard may owe just a little to the Nobel laureates McEwan met at a conference at Potsdam in 2007 organised by his friend John Schellnhuber, the German government's climate-change adviser: "I was the after-dinner entertainment." There, "I was struck by how grand they were – some of them comically grand in the way neither Seamus Heaney nor J M Coetzee are. They run fiefdoms in a way that writers can't, or don't – or shouldn't. These guys were politicians as well as scientists."
Friday, March 12, 2010
In The Independent, Boyd Tonkin meets novelist Ian McEwan whose new book, Solar, features a prize-winning scientist, Michael Beard.