David Jones, who has died aged 79, was a physical chemist and writer who, through his columns under the pseudonym Daedalus, entertained readers of New Scientist, Nature and the Guardian for more than 30 years. His ideas for inventions started from secure principles and wove a plausible tale through to the impossible – or so he thought. In fact, many turned out to be feasible. His version of 3D printing with lasers even landed him in a patent dispute in 1974.
He described how to coat the moon in a reflective layer so that northerners would be released from their dark winters and “lovers would blink in its unromantic glare”. His remote-controlled painting machine would climb walls with the aid of slug slime and allow mountain bikes to go up vertical cliffs. He foresaw the problems of the information