Three-quarter profile view of Sumit Paul-Choudhury

Hello! I’m Sumit.

I write, think and dream about science, technology and the future. My creative studio, Alternity, works on alternative histories, social experiments and applied speculations. I’m currently working on my first book, The Bright Side, an investigation of the philosophy and practice of optimism. It’ll be published in January 2025 by Canongate in the UK and Scribner in the US.

I trained as a physicist at Imperial College, where I earned a first-class B.Sc., but after graduating decided to try my hand at journalism while completing my M.Sc. in Mathematics at Queen Mary & Westfield. I started out in arts criticism but spent most of the next fifteen years writing about business and technology in London and New York, with an emphasis on financial engineering and risk management – subjects that would prove critical during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

I wanted to get back to science, however, so in 2008 I joined New Scientist, the world’s most popular science weekly, where I served as editor-in-chief until 2017. During my tenure the magazine successfully expanded into social media, video, books and events ranging from evening lectures to global expeditions. In addition to the day job, I was editor-in-chief of Arc, an acclaimed digital publication dedicated to the future, between 2012 and 2014; and in 2016 I served as founding creative director for New Scientist Live, the world’s most exciting festival of ideas and discovery.

After leaving New Scientist I undertook the Sloan Fellowship at London Business School. I’m also a Visiting Research Fellow in the Computing department at Goldsmiths and a Fellow of the RSA, where I sit on the Editorial Board. I chair the Public Engagement Committee of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, where I am a trustee; I also serve as a trustee for the Cove Park artists’ residency centre and the arebyte gallery. I’ve previously served as a judge for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the Wellcome Book Prize, the Royal Television Society Programme Awards and the Costa Book Awards.

I live, work and fail to sleep in London.

Photo by David Stock