Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Board of trustees
Sense about Science is governed by a board of trustees. Members of the board of trustees sit as individuals, not as representatives of any other organisation.
Professor Paul Hardaker (Chair)
Paul Hardaker is a mathematician by background whose PhD and early research work focused on radio propagation through the atmosphere. He worked at the Met Office for 14 years in a variety of roles including the Met Office’s Chief Advisor to Government, providing support to the Government in areas such as climate change policy, the civil contingency programme and the UK’s Public Met Service. He was Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society between 2006 and 2012 and is currently the Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics. He was Chairman of the NERC directed programme on the Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) and holds a visiting professorship at the University of Reading and previously the University of Salford. For 5 years Paul was also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Berkshire West Primary Care Trust and actively involved with local and regional healthcare initiatives.
Professor Dame Bridget Ogilvie FMedSci FRS (Vice-Chair)
Bridget Ogilvie initially studied agriculture in Australia and then undertook research on the immune response to parasitic infections with the UK Medical Research Council before joining the staff of the Wellcome Trust, from which she retired as Director in 1998. She is now a Visiting Professor at UCL from where she is involved in a range of non-executive activities in the fields of science, education and their interaction with the public.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Michael Fitzpatrick has been a General Practitioner in Hackney, London for the past 15 years. He has written on a wide range of medical and political subjects for both medical publications and the mainstream media. He is Health Editor of the on-line magazine spiked and writes for the British Journal of Medical Practice. He is the author of The Tyranny of Health (Routledge 2001) and MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know (Routledge 2004).
Ms Diana Garnham
Diana Garnham was previously Chief Executive of the Science Council and Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities. She is involved in a wide range of other committees and advisory groups within higher education, health and science and the voluntary sector. She has written for both science and general publications on subjects as diverse as the national lottery, public debate and engagement in medical science and the management of intellectual property. Her academic background is in politics and international affairs.
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge
Robin Lovell-Badge obtained his PhD in Embryology at University College London in 1978. After postdoctoral research in Cambridge and Paris, he established his independent laboratory in 1982 at the MRC Mammalian Development Unit, UCL. In 1988 he moved to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, becoming Head of Division in 1993. He has had long-standing interests in the biology of stem cells, in how genes work in the context of embryo development, and how decisions of cell fate are made. His current research is on sex determination, development of the nervous system, and the biology of stem cells within the early embryo, the CNS and the pituitary. He is an Honorary Professor at UCL, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong, President of the Institute of Animal Technology, and serves on several advisory committees. He is also active in both public engagement and policy work, notably around stem cells, genetics, human embryo and animal research, and the way science is regulated and disseminated.
Dr Julie Maxton
Dr Julie Maxton is the Executive Director of the Royal Society. Before taking up her position at the Royal Society in 2011 Julie was Registrar at the University of Oxford where she is an Honorary Fellow of University College. Originally trained as a barrister at the Middle Temple Julie combined a career as a practising lawyer with that of an academic, holding a number of senior academic positions, including those of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Julie is the author of numerous articles concerned with trusts, equity, commercial and property law. Julie is a Bencher of the Middle Temple, a Freeman of the Goldsmith’s Company, a Board member of Engineering UK, the Charities Aid Foundation, Haberdasher Aske’s School and of the International Advisory Board of the Blavatnik School of Governance at Oxford University.
Mr Nick Ross
Nick Ross read psychology at Queen’s University Belfast and later became a Doctor of the University (honoris causa). He has been a leading broadcaster across a wide range of issues. He helped to change the climate of science reporting in the early 90s with an influential series of articles critical of media portrayal of science, and has been a member of the Committee on Public Understanding of Science and twice chairman of the Science Book Prize. He is a regular speaker at science meetings, is President of HealthWatch which campaigns for evidence-based medicine, is a supporter of the Campbell Collaboration, the international partnership to improve scientific methodology in the social sciences, and he founded the new discipline of Crime Science. He is an Honorary Fellow and visiting professor at UCL.
Rt Hon Sir Stephen Sedley
Sir Stephen practised at the Bar for 28 years, principally in the fields of civil liberties and discrimination law, until 1992 when he was appointed as a Judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court. He took office as a Lord Justice of Appeal in January 1999. He has sat as a member of the judicial committee of the Privy Council and as a judge ad hoc of the European Court of Human Rights. He is currentlyvisiting professor of law at Oxford University, an honorary Professor of Law at Warwick University and the University of Wales at Cardiff, and a Judicial Visitor at University College, London. He also holds a number of honorary doctorates. From 2000 to 2013 he was president of the British Institute of Human Rights. He writes for the London Review of Books and has lectured widely. A collection of his essays, Ashes and Sparks, was published in 2011.
Dr Simon Singh
Simon Singh completed his PhD in particle physics at the University of Cambridge before joining the BBC science department in 1990. He was a producer and director on programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. Fermat’s Last Theorem, his documentary about the world’s most notorious mathematical problem, won a BAFTA in 1997, and he also wrote a book on the same which became the first mathematics book to become a No.1 bestseller in Britain. In 1999 Simon published The Code Book, a history of codes and code-breaking, and in 2004 he published Big Bang, a history of cosmology. His broadcasting includes a 5-part series on the history of cryptography for Channel 4 (The Science of Secrecy), two series of Mind Games on BBC4 and three series of Five Numbers for Radio 4. He has been a trustee of NESTA and the National Museum of Science and Industry, and he has a strong interest in science education in schools.
Dick Taverne studied philosophy and ancient history at Balliol College, Oxford (First Class Honours). He was called to the Bar in 1954 (appointed QC in 1965), became a Labour Member of Parliament in 1962 and served as a Minister from 1966 to 1970, first in the Home Office and then the Treasury, where he was Financial Secretary. In 1972 he resigned from the Labour Party and was re-elected as an independent social democrat. In the early 1970s he launched the Institute for Fiscal Studies, now one of the most respected institutes in Britain. He has served on the boards of several international companies. In 1996 he was appointed to the House of Lords. In recent years his main political interest has been science and society. He founded Sense about Science in 2002, which he chaired for 10 years until 2012, wrote The March of Unreason - Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalseism (Oxford University Press, 2005) and was voted by the Association of Science Writers as Parliamentary Science Communicator of the Year, 2005. Lord Taverne became a patron of Sense about Science in April 2012.
Dr Janice Taverne
Janice Taverne is a microbiologist/parasitologist/ immunologist who was supported by the Medical Research Council for most of her working life. She read Zoology at Oxford, and after acquiring a PhD in the Bacteriology Department of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she worked on trachoma at the Lister Institute of Medicine and then on malaria in the Department of Immunology at the Middlesex Hospital, which became UCL. When she retired she wrote a monthly column for 7 years on internet discussions for Parasitology Today (which became Trends in Parasitology). She has since worked as a volunteer at the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum learning about parasitic wasps (and acted as her husband’s editor and adviser on scientific matters). Dr Janice Taverne became a patron of Sense about Science in April 2012.