Sir David Smith FRS FRSE
Eminent botanist and distinguished supporter of Humanism
David Cecil Smith was born in May 1930 in South Wales. He studied Botany at Oxford, and became a university lecturer at Oxford University. He held the Chair of Botany at Bristol University, and then returned to Oxford as Sibthorpian Professor of Rural Economy. After a period as Principal of Edinburgh University between 1987 and1994, he again returned to Oxford as President of Wolfson College, Oxford, which he left in September 2000. He was awarded the Gold Medal for Botany of the Linnean Society and served as its President.
In July 2001 he was one of the signatories to a letter published in The Independent which urged the Government to reconsider its support for the expansion of maintained religious schools. He was one of the 43 scientists and philosophers who in March 2002 signed a letter to Tony Blair and relevant Government departments, deploring the teaching of Creationism in schools, and in July 2009 he joined other eminent scientists and educators calling for vital changes to the proposed science curriculum for primary schools in England in a letter to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. He was also one of the signatories to a letter supporting a holiday on Charles’ Darwin’s birthday, published in The Times on February 12, 2003, and also sent to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary.