Inspirational Scientists

I’m not one for putting people on pedestals (after 14 years I’ve still not got over Nick Carter and other BSBs letting me down so badly – who saw it coming eh?).  However it is useful sometimes to think ‘if they can do it, so can I’.  So if you’re in need of some inspiration in order to pipette from the bottle of methanol rather than down it, read on…

David Nutt 

One of those guys who you didn’t realise you knew, but you probably do.  He’s a well established researcher in the area of pharmacology and addiction, however you’re more likely to know him as the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, who advised the government on drugs policies, who got the sack by Alan Johnson.  The reason given, after some high-profile articles he wrote, was that he couldn’t keep being an advisor if he was also a protester to current government policy.  So that would be a government who only wants to be advised by people who already agree with their policies eh?  Despite this public knock back, he’s still heavily involved with communicating the importance of discussing drug licensing within a context of scientific evidence through books, talks, blogs and media appearances.

James Lovelock

James Lovelock has had an unbelieveably varied and successful career including inventing the electron capture detector, working for NASA and developing the Gaia Theory which has led to publishing many books.  However it’s his career as an independent scientist which interests me the most.

James Lovelock

Photo courtesy of Jon and Lu @

This lack of regulation has allowed Lovelock to develop theories which contradicted the current thinking.  Such as supporting nuclear power and discouraging the development of renewable energy sources as a solution to climate change.  He also predicted a future where most of the human population would have been destroyed by the effects of climate change reducing us to a “few breeding pairs”.  Recently however, just when climate change is becoming a powerful motivator for behavioural change, Lovelock has again shirked popular opinion and stated that the “alarmist” theories predicting doom and gloom aren’t coming true.  The scientist has come under criticism for this U-turn, however as he states “being allowed to change your mind and follow the evidence is one of the liberating marvels of being an independent scientist” in a recent guardian article.

I’ll keep adding to these, if anyone has any suggestions please let me know!


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