Born in London in 1940, he studied Physics and Chemistry and Mathematics at Trinity College in Dublin before devoting himself to Philosophy. His series "Philosophers in 90 minutes" and "Scientists and their discoveries" have been translated into a dozen languages. He is currently a reader at Kingston University, where he has also been a professor of mathematics, philosophy and modern Italian poetry. One of his most successful works is Los Médici: godfathers of the Renaissance, and he has also written several novels, biographies and travel books. His most recent work The Spirit of Venice: from Marco Polo to Casanova, published in 2012.