Science journalist, author and communicator

What to Believe – my new book

I’m starting on a new book, provisionally called What to Believe, to be published by Princeton University Press.

The book will tell the story of how multiple disciplines have embraced the use of rigorous research evidence over the last few decades – from evidence-based medicine, to policy, education, conservation and more.

It will hopefully be a guidebook to anyone navigating complex evidence to make decisions in their lives. It’s a good time right now to look at how we use and misuse evidence (see: pandemic).

I’m excited & very daunted to start on a new project!

Nature at 150 lectures

This year, Nature celebrates its 150th anniversary. As part of this I was lucky enough to be invited to give a public lecture at the University of Dunedin in New Zealand, which was also marking its 150th anniversary.

The university was hosting the 1869 Conference and Heritage festival, focused on an era when sciences and humanities were flourishing. It was a real honour to be part of this festival. I spoke about Nature at 150: Past, present and future of a science journal.

Two months later, I also spoke about Nature‘s history at an event to mark our anniversary in Beijing, which was attended by around 200 Wechat followers, scientists and science stakeholders. These are a couple of pictures from a really rewarding day.

 

 

 

TED Summit 2019

Red Circle Speaker Community Workshops at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

I attended the TEDSummit 2019 in Edinburgh from July 21-25, as part of the Speaker community – people who’ve previously given a TED talk.

I also gave a mini-TED talk to that group – and ran a workshop – about how we use evidence (or not) in making important decisions in our lives. It was fantastic and useful experience, and wonderful to meet so many former speakers.

Red Circle Speaker Community Workshops at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

2018 talks and events

On March 5th, I’m delighted to be taking part in the Chief Scientific Officer’s annual conference at the Royal Society in London. The panel is titled Why Data Matters, and will be focusing on the value and benefits of cohort and population based studies.

The whole event spans 5-6 March and is described as ‘the flagship event for healthcare scientists and those working in science in health’.  I’m really happy to take part in this conference, which is aimed at inspiring scientists in the NHS and will be exploring why science and data matter and are integral to the future of the NHS.

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I’m giving a keynote lecture at the annual meeting of The Neonatal Society on Thursday 22 March at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The Neonatal Society is one of the most longstanding paediatric research societies worldwide, founded in 1959. The talk will be: The Life Project: How 70 years of data from the British Birth Cohorts changed health and social policy”.

 

 

 

60th birthday of 1958 birth cohort

The 1958 birth cohort, which I wrote about in my book, will turn 60 in March 2018. It’s an amazing milestone for the study and its participants and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies is organising a conference (60 Years of our Lives) on 8 and 9 March to celebrate this anniversary.

The meeting is mainly targeted at scientists and will present current work using cohort and longitudinal data. I’ll have the pleasure of moderating a panel with key researchers from the study, which is known as the National Child Development Study (NCDS). The researchers running the study are also putting together a book to mark the birthday for the cohort members. Happy birthday!

 

 

British Medical Association awards

My book The Life Project was Highly Commended at the British Medical Association medical book awards 2017, in the popular medicine category. It was a real honour to be shortlisted, and a pleasure to attend the ceremony on 11 September.

Women’s Forum Global Meeting

I’ll be speaking at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, 5-6 October 2017. I’m taking part in a session about E-health (Health delivery to underserved groups) with a roster of excellent speakers, and we’ll be tackling issues around inequality that I explored to some extent in The Life Project. The meeting as a whole is subtitled ‘Daring to Lead in a Disrupted World’ and looks to be a really thought-provoking conference.

 

Science for the People radio interview

In June, I was interviewed about The Life Project on Science for the People, a syndicated radio show and podcast that broadcasts weekly across North America. Listen to the interview.

 

My TED talk

In April I gave a TED talk to the TED meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The speakers were told beforehand that this was the ‘Mount Everest of public speaking’ and I can confirm this is true: a 12 minute memorised, filmed talk in front of a theatre of 2000 VIPs is pretty intense. I spoke about a strand from my book The Life Project: what the studies of British children have shown about how to do the best for our children.

The meeting and the talk were an incredible experience – and you can see how I did in early October, when the talk will be published on the TED.com site!