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« Waiting for a Guardian outcry | Main | Osborne cuts the supertax »
Wednesday
Mar182015

Golly, a biologist and not a warmist

When I first speculated about who might replace Paul Nurse at the helm of the Royal Society at the end of the year it was pointed out that the next man at the top should be from the physical sciences. Traditionally the Presidency alternates between the physical and biological wings. However, it was also noted that there was something of a dearth of suitably qualified physical scientists on hand - the society likes to have a Nobel prizewinner at the helm and we seem to be better at producing biologists than physicists.

It has now been announced that Nurse will be replaced by Professor Venki Ramakrishnan, a chemist who works in the medical sciences, but who has a degree in physics too.  According to the Royal Society, he was elected by a ballot of the members yesterday. One assumes that this featured the Soviet-style single-name ballot paper that saw Nurse and Prince Andrew elected, but it would be amusing to have confirmation.

Encouragingly a quick Google suggests that he has been admirably reticent to advance any views on global warming, the need for world government, or the merits of Nigel Lawson.

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Reader Comments (35)

Yeah, he's probablty a sensible chap who understands that the alarmist conspiracy is all a front for Big Wind.

Probably.

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

Let's give him time.

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Couldn't get into IIT, couldn't get into CMC Vellore, couldn't get a job anywhere in the United States, wins Nobel Prize. Heh.

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Registered Commentershub

He hasn't had the gnats in the ear yet.


Just wait.

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

he 'has' been admirably reticent to advance any views on global warming, the need for world government, or the merits of Nigel Lawson.

shortly to change to was

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

It won't be long before "the consensus" community gets him to make statement on it, but maybe he will stick closely to IPCC, rather than go for "crush and bury".

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterCW

Professor Venki Ramakrishnan is also

" a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy."

India is a developing nation prioritising the building of a secure cost effective base load energy supply infrastructure.

Interesting times?

Mar 18, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Interesting.

Would love to see the ballot papers to see if these was an election, or a coronation.

Mar 18, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Interesting indeed.
Off Topic----How was Professor Salby's talk received and will it be available on the net?

Mar 18, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDMA

Nurse knew nothing of climate change, but it hasn't stopped him from spouting cobblers about it.

Mar 18, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

I get fed up with a mate of mine quoting the RS & Nurse as thought they are the veritable last word on Global Warming. Will be interesting to see how this fella turns out, & whether he is got at. This is usually a guvment approved appointment, as all such positions are. Just get the boxed set of Yes Minister out of the loft!

Mar 18, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I will miss Nurse as he was such an easy target.

Research by Haseler (2014) suggests that scepticism is highest amongst those with "hard science" or physical degrees and engineers.

It probably means that as a physicist/chemist he is more likely to be a sceptic, however it is only if he were an engineer that he'd be likely to be a sceptic.

So, it could all come down to whether or not he's able to put up Ikea furniture without reading the instructions.

Mar 18, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

...Encouragingly a quick Google suggests that he has been admirably reticent to advance any views on global warming, the need for world government, or the merits of Nigel Lawson....

I can't believe that he wasn't sounded out and checks made to ensure that he held all the correct views. Or that he would do when asked...

Mar 18, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Maybe a lack of knowledge of climate science was part of his appeal. He can now take the advice of those experts closest at hand.

Just like Nurse did.

Mar 18, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

The RS has been taken over by the Green Blob/Agenda 21 so that it would be amazing if they 'elected' a President who wasn't fully onside.

Mar 18, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Well, Nurse left behind appalling low scientific standards. So, on account of that, Ramakrishnan will shine by default. That said, either he's been "worked on" or will be. Let's see how he deals with the warm-mongering pressure.

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Just another BRIC on the mall. Seriously, I've hopes; they could have done seriously worse.
==============

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

MikeHaseler, 6:20 pm:

I think your research is a bit iffy. I'm a sceptic and despite majoring in toxicology and pathology, I've managed to put together two fitted kitchens and a chicken run, without bothering with the instructions (though I have to admit to occasionally using a lump hammer to get bits to fit where I wanted them to go).

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

With the presidency comes Noblesse Oblige - the obligation to conform to the conventional advocacy of one in his position. Appeal to the authority of contrived consensus.


The Royal Society is no longer a champion of science - its an establishment club for honours and passage to the Lords.

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:30 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Salopian

Please, please, please - it's not a lump hammer, it's a 'Manchester spanner'.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Salopian, Mar 18, 2015 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar
Please, please, please, please - it's not a lump hammer, nor is it a 'Manchester spanner', it's a Birmingham screwdriver.
SimonJ

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonJ

No, it's a Glasgow Screwdriver!

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Salopian:-

"I think your research is a bit iffy. I'm a sceptic and despite majoring in toxicology and pathology, I've managed to put together two fitted kitchens"

Yet more proof that sceptics can put together fitted kitchens!

There's actually a good psychological basis for my prediction that sceptics will tend not to read the instructions. A "hands on" approach tends to go with an attitude of working with "what's there" - someone who reads the instruction is interested to know what others think is there.

And because sceptics tend to be good at analysing data and making sense of it they don't need or care about what they "should do". In contrast, those who read the instructions are less practical and more swayed by what is "socially acceptable".

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:54 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Salopian, how do the chickens like their two kitchens? I am sure that Miliband will be impressed.

Did you learn toxicology before or after this DIY extravaganza?

Mar 18, 2015 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@SandyS

..No, it's a Glasgow Screwdriver!....

If a Glaswegian needs to hit something, he doesn't need a hammer. Or even his hands...

Mar 18, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

MikeHaseler, 9:54pm 'And because sceptics tend to be good at analysing data and making sense of it they don't need or care about what they "should do". In contrast, those who read the instructions are less practical and more swayed by what is "socially acceptable".'

I totally agree with you.

Golf Charlie 10:07pm

My involvement in toxicology came a long time before my DIY exploits, which were at different locations. Unfortunately, the chickens have never seen the results of my kitchen constructions - Post-FMD regulations from DEFRA mean that they only get inside the kitchen as eggs or ex-chickens.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

https://royalsociety.org/news/2015/03/Venki-Ramakrishnan-PRS-elect/

At first glance he seems genuine: http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/careers/i-absolutely-believe-that-scientists-should-be-paid-more-than-they-are-currently/article54865.ece

"Dr. Ramakrishnan, unlike some scientists, sees science and religion as two completely different entities. Rather than making him more spiritual, dwelling at the atomic structure of ribosomes only taught him that there was a rational explanation for most things."

Q: How right is it to measure the quality of one’s work by the number of papers published in high-impact journals? Many institutes use this as a measure while deciding on promotions. Your comments.

This is a terrible worldwide problem. It is because those deciding on promotions etc. do not want to spend the time and energy to make an informed judgement of their own.

The worst thing about this is that one can publish a mediocre paper in a high impact journal and get more credit than for an outstanding paper in a less prestigious journal."

Has mentioned global warming:

"It is good to introduce the children to scientific principles when they are very young. Though they may not become great scientist, but science is inevitable for everyone. We are living in an era of technology. How is possible to communicate with ones around you or how to know about the recent decisions taken by the government? How to find out the authenticity about the global warming and other details about environmental pollution? Though you would have studied science at least up to high school, it would help you to solve several problems on your own, without needing get to depend on others."

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:58 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Dr. Phlogiston wasn't available?

Mar 19, 2015 at 4:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Ah, Dennisa, thanks for his 'How to find out about the authenticity of the global warming'.
==================

Mar 19, 2015 at 6:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I remember when sceptics were optimistic about Pachauri's appointment as head of IPCC because he hadn't been overtly alarmist up to that point and was an engineer.

Mar 19, 2015 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

So, it could all come down to whether or not he's able to put up Ikea furniture without reading the instructions.
Mar 18, 2015 at 6:02 PM MikeHaseler

The engineer's last resort: R.T.F.M.

Mar 19, 2015 at 8:41 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Confused: "Encouragingly a quick Google suggests that he has been admirably reticent to advance any views on global warming, the need for world government, or the merits of Nigel Lawson." Is this a wee ad-hom? Or is it just saying that expressing a view either way about CAGW would be a bad thing? Personally, I thought "An Appeal To Reason" was, well, reasonable...

Mar 19, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterSensorman

"Welcome Prof Ramakrishnan,

Pull up a stuffed polar bear and we'll explain how this works."

Mar 19, 2015 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

Well, I hope he knows the difference between an unphysically calculated, simple and elegant "physical law" that is merely a prediction, and an actual, factual, that always applies, Law of thermodynamics. Otherwise "we" may never get out of this mess.

http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/thread-2294.html

Mar 19, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Alker

Pet the bear,
Sunshades wear,
Never dare
In Hades lair.
=========

Mar 19, 2015 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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