Distinguished scientist and supporter of Humanism
Amongst other academic posts, Sir David King is Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, a post he has held since 2008, and Director of Research in Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He has published more than 500 papers on chemical physics and science and policy, and has been awarded numerous honours for his work. He was President of the British Science Association from 2008-9.
Sir David was born in South Africa in 1939 and has had a distinguished career in British universities and as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Head of the Government Office for Science from 2000 to 2007, advising on issues including: the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001; post 9/11 risks to the UK; GM foods; energy provision; and innovation and wealth creation. His views are sometimes controversial: he has said that organic food is no safer than chemically-treated food; he supports nuclear power and GM food; and he has defended the culling of badgers.
He has suggested that scientists should honour a Hippocratic Oath for Scientists, which would encourage rigour, honesty, integrity, and the minimisation and justification of any adverse effects of scientists’ work on people, animals or the natural environment.
As Chief Scientific Adviser, he promoted the need to act on climate change, a theme he returned to in his 2009Humanists UKDarwin Day Lecture, “Can Science Rise to the Challenges of the 21st Century?”, in which he demonstrated the interlinking global problems that science could help to mitigage. The lecture can be viewed here on YouTube.
His Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment profile, which contains links to some of his recent articles and statements
Professor Sir David King, in an interview on climate change, “the biggest diplomatic challenge of all time”.
His wikipedia profile