A senior lecturer in journalism is hoping his talent for writing crisp and incisive copy will turn his latest book into a best seller. Former deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday Brian Cathcart has released The Fly in the Cathedral, which tells the story of a group of Cambridge scientists who split the atom in the 1930s. The breakthrough was significant partly because it brought the first laboratory confirmation of Einstein’s equation E=mc².
Mr Cathcart has written five other books, including The Case of Stephen Lawrence (1999) and Jill Dando: Her Life and Death (2001). The topic of his new book, the title of which is a metaphor for the relative size of the nucleus inside the atom, resulted from an unexpected personal interest. “I didn’t study science at school – in fact I’ve never had a physics lesson in my life,” he said. “The mystery of how the atom was split became a fascination after I became a reporter and had to read some nuclear history as background to a story. This book is the culmination of more than 20 years research into the subject.”
Mr Cathcart teaches on the University’s journalism degree programme launched last September and hopes his students will benefit from his experience as both a journalist and an author.