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So, my name is Tony Gilland. I am the Science and Society Director of the Institute of Ideas. And we have had two very interesting and at times passionate debates already, one about the climate change and the science and politics of climate change and one about newer science and in relation to social policy in politics and responsibility in the legal system. This debate is much broader, and more open ended. It's titled "What are the barriers to science in the 21st century?" And really, the reason why we decide to put this debate on was for two things. Last year we had a great respond to and we asked the question what should we want from science, and it threw up all sorts of interesting issues. And one of the speakers introduced had said "We should want nothing that is immediate or instrumental." We should generate quite a good debate but the time was very limited. So we thought with this session, we would ask generally what do people think of the barriers to science, but within that mix I sort of fully expected the question about instrumentality to come up, and indeed only two weeks ago the research councils put down a report about the research impacts of science that they fund, which is great, you know they are celebrating the impacts of what they fund. But it also made the point that they would be looking at changing the review system for funding of scientific proposals to include a direct assessment of possible economic benefit. And they also said that the people should not be worried that this would narrow the range of research that would be funded. But it was more about making explicit something that already takes place. Through that also I had put out a survey, just over two weeks ago, not a particularly scientific survey, it was entirely self selecting and I pushed out as far more as I could and got as many people's response I could to find out what science is to all these question and to just to sort of inform the discussion. One thing that struck me very much was that in this survey, and the figure stayed very much the same from a fairly early point, they seem to settle down around fairly consistent figures. 85 percent or so of the sciences told that the disinterested pursuit of knowledge without any constraint or external pressure was a desirable thing for society to engage in. But only 50 percent or just over 50 percent thought it was realistic. And I thought that was quite interesting as to well, what then are the barriers to pursuing these desirable aim and why yeah and indeed, that the minority of people who didn't think it was desirable, what might be the reasons why it wouldn't be desirable. So that might be a question that we can address in the discussion as well. I have a very eloquent panel. I hope they are eloquent, I think they are eloquent that they are certainly well qualified to speak. So I am going to introduce them to you. They will now make their opening comments and we will have a bit of a discussion and plenty time for your questions. We are extremely honored to have Evan Harris, who over the last well at least five years, if not more particularly his very prominent role within the House of Commons, Science and Technology Committee, has done a lot of very interesting repose and put government I think under a lot of very good pressure on particular issues. And most recently, they you might have seen last week in the papers, they have been consulting about abortion and whether you should require two doctors to sign off an abortion. And also the debate about that the time limit has come up on how long abortion should be. So they do a great work. And so we are delighted to have Evan here. Second to speak would Ruth McKernan on my immediate left. Ruth is Vice President of the external research in Europe at Pfizer the pharmaceutical company. She graduated from the University of London in biochemistry and pharmacology and has a PhD in the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs. She has worked at the University of California in San Diego. She has worked previously for Merck, another major pharmaceutical company. And she has recently published her first book for normal scientists "Billy's Halo" which was short listed for the 2007 MIND awards. So that was Ruth. And then she will be followed by Professor Monica Grady on my far left. Hello, Monica. Monica is Professor of Planetary in Space Sciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes. She has previously been the head of Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division in the Department for Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum. She is particularly interested in meteorites, as you might not be surprised to hear after all that, and has written a number of books in relation to that. She also gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, "Voyage in Space and Time" in 2003. And she was formerly a member of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Council's Science Committee and is now in the committee of the Science Technology and Facilities Research Council which is the sponsor of our science debates here it the Battle for Ideas. So she will have some insight into what research councils are up to. Finally we have Dr. Bill Durodie on my far right, who is a Senior Lecturer in Risk and Corporate Security at Cranfield University. He was previously the Director of the International Centre for Security Analysis, and Senior Research Fellow in the International Policy at the 5* Research Assessment, rated War Studies Group of King's College and a very good research group that one. Anyway, Bill's issues of interest to him he has written about widely and spoken about widely, relate to risk and risk consciousness, and also the erosion of expertise, the demoralization of elites, the limitations of risk management, and the growing demand to engage the public in dialogue and decision-making in relation to science and I am sure Bill will say things to provoke us all, in our debate and discussion. Okay, so without further adieu, Evan would kick us off please? I will stand. Thank you very much Tony, I am sorry I was late. I have talked on top of the yellow lines and I haven't asked anything else of the sponsors except one glass of wine last night, and half of pulled sandwich. So may be a parking ticket coming your way, and I don't care if that value for money or not. It's a factious state we live in, if you go and park on a Sunday, anyway. I am little bit the reason I am late is that I had to email that everyone I think well, certainly has all politicians fear getting today, which was because I have been doing some work on supportive research on hybrid embryos and in favor of the right I have helped with assisted dying and in favor of a women trying to chose on abortion, I got the I am a freelance journalists that has been asked by The Daily Mail, to write about your personal life. I got a phone call first, I boot it into email and please please listen now is the time to confess. And I was desperately trying to find something interesting to say about my personal life, because I fear I am going to die of shame when they find that I have being singularly boring, but it has been a little stressful today, so I am sorry if I appear little flustered. I hate going first and so my revenge to the organizes to do little preparation and to have a little rant, so please I and it's Bill's style, but I do apologize my fellow panelists on this. So what I found firstly I just want to do with this question of where the government stands on this, because we have a government that gives a very mixed picture on its support of science. Certainly in terms of funding there has been significant increases in recent years, okay, and talk of doubling. But doubling a small number is easier to do than doubling a large number, and without being too part political about the Conservatives the funding of science back in 1997 was not a lot. So to increase that significantly with a low base, but I think credit has to be given. But in terms of high education, we haven't seen for that part of the funding, we haven't seen a similar rise and that has created issues. The second thing is one can say what about the support for science? And once you get beyond the personality of David Sainsbury, as I try and do, and look at the issues, again it's a mixed picture. The government boasts about how its failed on GM technology and it was a regrettable failure and there was a lot of hostility to that based on two sides, the pseudoscience and my own party, which is being whipped in to shape much more quickly now, is guilty on that as much as the others. But having failed on that, they then claim to have got a good record. And I am not sure that's the case. They can say yes. They on nanotechnology, they beat off the hoards of opponents with that powerful ideas and that very clear manifesto, that's Prince Charles and his grey goo, which I don't think was high hanging fruit, shall we say, and then they say that they are very big on stem cells because we finally dragooned them into passing the therapies of cloning regulations in 2000-2001' although again I have to tell you, it was a struggle to get them to move on that. But if actually you look at even stem cells, the nonsense position that they put out on hybrid embryos, that is the idea that yes they were in favor, its okay to use human embryos destructively for research up to 14 days, but you wouldn't be allowed to do that for ethical reasons, the things that were sub human somehow it was not possible this on things that were less than human, that is when you took a human nucleus and put it into an animal embryo cell and its the the and enucleated animal over. And we took a huge amount of time, two Select Committee reports, a campaign that I was involved with to get to show that the government only had the support of Josephine Quintavalle and and a Catholic Archbishop. And if the government only has them for support on a policy like that, then I thought they could see they were heading for disaster. And we finally got them to change that policy. But it was a struggle. But on other issues, the government says well, it's not worth having the fight. So when it comes to doing something about the creeping teaching of creationism in schools, not just going to be careful, not just in science lessons, but teaching in religious education, creationism as fact. Okay, because I don't think this should be taught to some people believe this not this is the case. So they haven't even gone there. They have been extremely weak. And when it comes to recognizing that homeopathy, and indeed other unproven things that have medical claims, and I don't just include complementary and alternative therapies in that, but they are the best examples because they boast about the fact that they are part of the normal, research driven, proof of efficacy, agenda. They have allowed homeopathy proving which are well I don't have time to explain it, but they are the opposite the prove to count as evidence of efficacy for the for the purpose of getting MHRA approval, and that's because homeopathy is popular. But to subvert the whole of healthcare product regulation in that way is un acceptable, it's a disgrace, and it shows I believe I would argue that the government is not as good as it claims to be on these issues. They won't debate that with me. They seem to choose their own grand and I understand that. Now, one of the questions I have been asked to address is to what extent should government direct research research programs and what scientists do? And I think it's fair to say and I speak, and I will explain this a bit further, that that I think the government does have a valid interest, not just an interest, a valid interest in directing public funding that it raises from taxes, from unfair taxes in the name, but I am not straying into that for its priorities, okay, our parliament's priorities or scientist's priorities. I have long argued and I continue to argue that it's not their role to judge between what are the best grant applications to fund. They have to do this very much at arms length following how the entire principle, and set priorities for the research councils who then must be independent. It also follows that's I think is outrageous that government departments when when spending money directly on commissioned research put strings attached in respect of the free publication of the of the scientist doing that research. There is still far too much of that about, they said they don't when I raised it about six years ago, I was clear that they haven't, because whenever you talk to someone who is doing research in the government, they are they don't have academical research freedom that we would understand. And understandably one can say, yes we will agree a publication date. But the government has oppressed publication of research that doesn't support the policy. It's a disgrace and I refer you to the Science and Technologies Select Committee's Reports on Evidence Based Policy Making that we published last year. One example of this is the urgency that the government wants to give to translational research, even for example bio medical research, and I have argued and select committees argue, that if they want to do that they should not do at the expense of basic research or if they do that they have to be transparent and say, we are cutting basic research in order in a short sighted way of my view, to try and push translation. So there is an issue around towards the extent they are entitled to push knowledge transfer. I think they are entitled to identify they want more applied research and they have now agreed to do that with extra funding and not from the basic research. What I don't like is research councils deciding that they are going to give funding for worse research, worse application simply because there is an obvious knowledge transfer application, and reject better research applications because there is no obvious even for basic research even if they are both basic research, because I think that is second guessing and awards prizes to people who can fantasize about potential knowledge transfer rather than have a rigorous, necessary approach. Finally, if I may just have a word about public the role of public consultation, because this is again when I have come to those with the government and this and the interesting thing is around again, the question of biomedical research, for example in the regulated area of fertility treatment and embryo research, because what the government did and again this is an our Science and Technology Report, how not to do consultations where consultations are not, we identified that consultations in other words the sort of thing that Tony just talked about doing, at the worst way of gauging the opinion of the target group, because clearly there is bias in the way you put the question, there is bias in the people that answer, almost it's not quite as biased as a Focus group, but its not a very good way of measuring it, just genuine opinion polls with large sample sizes, with sensible questions and indeed deliberative opinion polling is a far better way. What the government did is asked a stupid question in a public consultation about for example hybrid embryo research, get a write in answer from the campaign groups and then which is fair enough, that's what they to do, it's what they are set up to do and its what I would do if I was doing that sort of thing and but then saying, we are not going to proceed with this because the public don't support it, when in fact when they were finally persuaded to do proper public opinion, well the public did support it. I could go farther and I'd say it is interesting to note that the public archive on this yucky thing, like human animal hybrid embryos up to 14 days, just like they probably weren't keen on taking an organ from a dead body and then putting into the body of a live person well, it has never been allowed, if he does the public their view of organ transplantation. But regardless of whether the government the public like it, if it's legitimate research and parliament hasn't banned it, it must go ahead, because we cannot have research priorities set simply by the yuck factor or even or even public opinion directly even when it is not based on the yuck factor, even when it is based on serious political or religious objections. That's not an acceptable way of doing research and it's a continuing struggle, because the legislation is very clear that the public does not have a veto on research in this way, but it's a continuous struggle to get the HFEA to remember that its job is to carry out what poll entrusted to do and not try and win popularity stakes with Daily Mail. We cannot allow the Daily Mail to persecute me in this way no, to have a veto on medical research. I feel now I have come back around to the Daily Mail, I feel is my work is complete, thank you very much. Okay thanks very much Evan. Now for something different, we have got Ruth please. Okay, I'll stand up as well and stay with that tradition I am almost going to talk about something quite different I feel. I am expecting we are going to hear a lot about education and a lot about money for research and what the government spend and what the government doesn't spend up on. But actually I am I am going to try and persuade you that I think that the barriers designed in 21st century are more likely to be cultural, than I either financial or educational. And for me, coming from the pharmaceutical industry, I can see how much this will cost us. And cutting edge science is now very expensive and very inter disciplinary. And I think to be really successful, we've go to the point where we have to link science from many different disciplines and really communicate well from one field to another. And my background is in neural science, and when I pick up natural science or any scientific magazine I don't have to stray very far from my field to not to understand what's written in those articles. And you know I certainly struggle with your work, and it's not easy because we've become very, very specialized. And I think for us to do a really good job in the future, we need to pull together ideas from different areas and working in silos those or even thinking in silos. I think that's going to be the biggest barrier to research in 21st century. So you might think that the pharmaceutical industry is a very mature industry and it's very applied. And it's really based on the pursuit of knowledge, things we know about with very tangible eyes. It costs $800 million for each new drug that's launched and we we depend on people from lots of different disciplines to bring every drug to market, takes on average 16 years to make a drug. So we have chemists who design the molecules, we have computational scientists who try and marry up new compounds with their own with their target enzyme or receptor and propose improvements. We have biologists who try and understand the human genome and see by interacting with which parts of genes and their pathways, how can we make better drugs, how can we make better medicines for patients. It requires people from lots of different disciplines. And it requires disciplines that overlap. And what we find hard is actually recruiting people that have knowledge of several different disciplines, it's very, very hard to find mathematical biologists who can model and what a drug does to the body, how long it's going to stay around. I am sure some of you will remember that the general incident, actually mathematical modeling could have predicted the type of toxicities that were seen in that tragic case. So I think in any one area, we can't truly predict what scientific advances will be necessary to be successful in the future. We couldn't do it in the past and I don't think we are going to be able to do it now. Who would have thought a few years ago, that understanding the way about distant stars are identified would turn out to be relevant for diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease. In the area Alzheimer's research, fragments of a small peptide called A beta and linked together to make polygon senile plaques and that builds up in the brain, to try and diagnose people with Alzheimer's disease and to try and understand what drugs do to that process we need to measure in the blood all of that fragments that are made and all of the fragments that are circulating in the blood. But there are 1000s and 1000s of proteins in the blood. And when we separate them in a to a two dimensional array, there are 1000s of molecules there. So to see what changes a drug might make or what proteins are present in people with Alzheimer's disease and not in others is exceptionally difficult. But the sort of technology that's used for identifying distant stars is exactly the same technology that we use for identifying proteins that change in the plasma from people from Alzheimer's disease. We never would have set out looking at distant stars to find a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, unless of course if it was for inspiration. So we need to we need to engage in a quadruple or I would call cooptation, and the reason I say that is we live in a global society. I work for a global company. All the big pharmaceutical companies and medical research companies, they are all global. We can invest at all as in any part of the world we choose, China or in India Egypt. The UK has a fantastic reputation for innovative science, and science Sainsbury highlighted this in his report, but I think if we don't get our act together, we will see research bleed from the UK in the way that other industries have. The other and so I think that's going to be really important. And when I say cooptation, if you don't know what I mean, you might think about putting a man on the moon. So there was competition between Russia and America but there was great cooperation between different disciplines in America. The physiologists that understand what space does to the body, material scientists and the astronomers, the computer scientists at the time, and that's what I mean by cooptation. It's a mix of cooperation of people from different disciplines in competition with an outside force. And I recently took my kids to the Kennedy Space Center. And actually I was quite shocked when I saw the Luna mojo, and if you haven't seen it, it looks like something that is six thong project. And like to put together with the excessive use of rubber solution glue and lots of an aluminum foil. And that's not to decry six thong projects. But at the time we thought it was the very limit of what science could do, putting a man on the moon was the most amazing thing. I remember watching it, when I was at school at the time. I thought it had all been done and yet you know, we could never have thought of mobile phones or nanotechnology or stem cell research, and these things are so close on horizon. And even in my own area of making drugs, we think of drugs as small molecules, but actually they are now antibodies or cells expressing genes, or modified RNA that controls whole differentiation pathways in the body with one small entity. So of course I think we need education to underpin the future of science. And as Lord Sainsbury said in his recent report, Raise to the top on innovation in the UK, a major campaign to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematic teaching in school is needed and who could argue with that. And of course we need adequate funding and I think both blue sky and applied, because we don't know, we can't predict the value of blue skies until way down the line. And in the same report Sainsbury said, "In today's global economy investment in science and education is not an intellectual luxury for a developed country, but an economic consumption necessity. But for me money in education are hygiene factors. It's like sanitation and fresh water. We won't to develop without them. But to be really successful we need to recognize the globalization of science and industry. We need to recognize, that to make UK PLC leading in science, we need to bridge disciplines effectively and be open minded to new ideas wherever they come from. Thank you. Okay, I would now turn to Monica please for a planetary perspective. Okay thank you Tony, and I guess I better stand up as well. Okay, so my field is very different from Ruth's and my perspective is very different from what Evan talked about into, because he was taking again mainly things that have come up before the Select Committee, in terms of stem cell research, genetic modification of food etc, and Ruth has been talking about from the pharmaceutical perspective. I come very much from a physical sciences background. I am a chemist and a geologist. I now work as a planetary scientist. And the research that I I do and the people that I work with, very hands on; we do experiments, we have equipment and we need equipment and people to carry on doing that research. So what are the barriers that prevent us doing that? Well, I prefer not to think of them as barriers but more at hoops that we have to go through or hurdles that we have go through that are put in front of us by a benevolent government, so what type of shade having to justify all the time what we are doing. Now justification for research is not a bad thing. I think it's an excellent thing. For many years if you are not careful with a research project, you can keep going down a blind alley and not get anywhere and get yourself you know, dug deeper and deeper and deeper. If you have to key if you have to come back to write a brunt proposal, if you have to get your project pre-reviewed, then you can be sure that you are being kept on the straight narrow. Fine; as long as these things don't have to happen too often, or take up too much time. And I think if you talk to any active research scientist and you say to them, what about writing a grant proposal, they will they will just sigh and throw their arms up in the air in despair and say "You just waste so much time doing it. You wrote the grant proposal, it goes to review or you review somebody else's grant proposal and then it has to go to and committee and this and that and the other, and sometimes you think things will be so much better if they said, right here is a pot of money. It's X, the number of researches are Y. Everybody can have X over Y, get on with it. And we will be so much you just feel sometimes you would be so much more productive, because of this constant requirement for justification. But we do have to justify, because the money comes from the public purse. We have to be able to stand up to anybody and justify why we do that research. I think that is I think that is a duty for any active scientists, that they have to be able to justify to a member of public and you know, for the purposes. The member of public might be grandma, it might be your son, you know your niece, whatever, who doesn't know or understand your field. You have to be able to justify to them what you are doing and why it's important you are doing it, because otherwise the responses well, why is that money being wasted on that particular piece of research when we have got so much more money so much more requirement for hospitals or schools, when there is so much poverty in the world, why are you wasting your time working on an instrument that's going to go to Mars, which is what I do. How can you justify wasting your time working on something that's go in to go and look for life on Mars? Well I have got an example from in a similar way to Ruth and the Alzheimer's, in that the research that I have worked on, well went into building an instrument for a project called Beagle 2, which you may remember as being a fantastically successful well I am talking till the very last second of its life, a fantastically successful space probe. I am also working with colleagues on an instrument on a space probe called Rosetta. Beagle 2 went to Mars, Rosetta is going to a comet, hasn't got there yet. Now, on both those instruments, on both those space probe there was an instrument called a mass spectrometer. Now in the in a lab the mass spectrometer is you know this big, the size of a table this high. The mass spectrometers that were made for Rosetta and for Beagle 2 are this big. And what they are doing, in both cases, is they were going to look for carbon dioxide and they were going to look for the characteristics of the gases on Mars's surface, on a comet. That instrument has been the subject of a Translation Award and is being used to develop a field portable instrument to take out into the field of Africa to test for tuberculosis, all right. So this thing is on its way to a comet, that crashed on the surface of Mars is being built now to go out into Africa to test people for TB. At the moment it takes eight weeks to test for TB, to take a sample, get it sent to a lab somewhere else, get the results back. That is far too long. This gives you a diagnosis within two hours; much, much less actually. So that's an example of something that came from a blue sky's research. And it's a great example. Research has to be subjected to constraints, because you can't do everything and anything you want to do, because there is a limited amount of money. But you cannot constrain research too narrowly; because that assumes you know the answer. And research isn't research if you know the answer already. So although we say right, you've got to be aware of possibilities for knowledge exchange, you certainly have to take opportunities for public outrage. There has to be this opportunity for blue sky's research as well. And so so these the barriers or the hoops or the hurdles are all towards making it more difficult to do those things that you want to do. Some of them are valid, justifiable. But it just makes it a tiny bit more difficult for us to do it in the way that we would want to do. Now responding a little bit to what Evan was saying about the government's record on funding for science. The government has been absolutely fantastic since 1997 in pouring money into science through a research infrastructure fund, which has been fantastic. It has renewed buildings, it has reviewed instruments and instruments that the infrastructure that decayed through the previous Tory government. But what it hasn't done is produce more people to actually use those instruments and populate those laboratories. And that is one of the biggest hurdles that we have to overcome in the next few years. Ruth made a reference to it, which is the declining number of students who are doing math, sciences, engineering and technology. Right from the youngest school students, right from the sort of four and five year olds, they need excellent teachers who can continue to inspire and carry on the children through that period when they you know, really interested in dinosaurs, to get these sullen teenagers over the hoop over the hump of 14, 15, 16; when they suddenly decide ah, I am not bothered, I can't be bothered, I have got one at home, all right, I know what it's like yeah, it's blurry - it's very difficult. So we got to be able to make sure that we have people who can help teach us a duty of scientists to go into schools to assist teachers, so bring the students, the exciting, dynamic way that science can do things, that you can achieve things. You have to have something to inspire children and I think one of the biggest barriers that we have got for science at the moment is the way that science is often taught in schools. It's so prescriptive by the time you have got here 12, 13, 14, 15 year olds and really I think that is where the problem starts to - to set in and that is something that I think we need to look to in the future. Thank you. Okay. Thanks, Monica. Everyone has covered lots of different things which is great. Bill please. By the way we look and see the fashion has now become to stand so I will stay seated. The if had been asked to give this talk to you five years ago, that's to what the greatest barriers are to science in the 21st century, I would probably have suggested that the biggest barriers are one, the demand by activists that science should proceed on the basis of a so called Precautionary Principle. In case I don't know what that is, essentially it says "Act first, find the evidence later" which is incredibly a dodgy way of approaching science I would suggest. The second thing I would probably have raised is the obsession of governments that science should support the British economy which is been raised in your survey and other way that science becomes instrumentalists. And Evans just reminded me that the obsession with dialogue is also a largely counter productive in science and one dialogue I usually leave the last words of Henry Ford to when asked said "If I had have asked the public what it was that they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse". The now it may come as a surprise to you, but the categories I want to nominate as the biggest barriers to science in the 21st century are firstly, scientists themselves and secondly, science educators. And when I say science educators, I mean that in completely the opposite way, I suspect then that which Monica has just raised. Now I say this, but not because I am an anti science philistine, I actually - originally studied physics in Peru college a long time ago and went along to start a PhD in astronomy at the university of Manchester although I ended up with a PhD in politics instead. But more recently, as a social scientist indeed I found myself defending science progress and reason from those we had very little appreciation of it. So what I say, is said you know with a good deal of reflection on the matter. And I think the first thing to say is that scientists and science educators are also members of the public and as members of the public they are not immune to some of the dominant cultural trends what Ruth referred to that we see in society today and those include, I would suggest, the degree of social pessimism and exaggerated perception of risk allow you of human beings and human activity and a pursuit of fairly limited objectives. Let me give you three examples of what I mean. In 2004, a Royal Society study group published a document called "Making the UK Safer: Detecting And Decontaminating Chemical And Biological Agents". Now you can tell straight away this was feeding into the so called war and terror. And the the study essentially took a face of value what it described in its introduction as "Growing concern amongst the public as to the possibility of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack". I don't doubt the qualifications of the scientists who were involved in that study and I don't doubt that it was technically rigorous in terms of should that be an incident we will I am afraid this is how we should go about dealing with it, but I would suggest that it was scientifically unsound and I say that because I was taught that the first job of any scientist is to interrogate the axioms to precisely not take the world at face value and and to interrogate the appearance of of things. So you would start by asking, well is there really growing concern amongst the public as to the possibility of the chemical and biological attacks. And even if there is, what does that represent? Is it due to media hype above the possibility of chemical and biological attacks or is it due to an in harmed sense of insecurity amongst the public which may have very little to do with the possibility of chemical and biological attacks. And you should start by explaining that rather than diving in assuming the problem that face value and publishing report which ironically ends up giving credence to the fact that the public are concerned about chemical and biological weapons because obviously if the scientists of the world society are investigating this, then it is a major issue that the people are worried about. So ironically they ended up driving the public concern that they were suggesting was a problem in the first place. Earlier this month my attention was drawn as I was looking through the BBC website to an article entitled "game violence study is launched" which I have here in front of anyone interested. This was a a study - essentially to look into the consequences of violent computer games on young children. There have been two paragraphs are quite instructive I will read them out to you "the government is asking for evidence for a new study of the effect of violent games on children. Psychologist Tanya Byron will have to study which will also examine how to protect children from online material", Tanya Byron if you are not familiar is famous from little angels and house of tiny terrorists. Now my question to Tanya and the government is this, if you are just starting to study the effects of such games how do you know children need protection? So clearly what you have done is you have assumed the conclusion of the outset and there is an increasing tendency in so called scientific projects nowadays to do that, to start with a conclusion and then look for confirming evidence. That's not science even if it's conducted by people who call themselves scientists and even if there is a winning research team happy to take the governments money in order to examine an outlook which shines with their own. My last example appeared in a copy of - since I received fruits standard agency news, however often it's published I presume it's monthly and I got front page article there entitled agency cause industry to account on food colors and we are informed in that after a detailed study industry reps will call to meeting at the FSI to explain what they were doing to regulate the use of food dyes, that's only inside the brochure that you read the reports author professor Jim Stevenson from Southampton University noting "we know there are many other influences of work". So in other words, again a predetermined agenda has not just influenced how the science was presented but what science was conducted in the first place. Now of course there is nothing particularly new to any of that. But the fact that it appears to me to be an increasingly common phenomenon today suggest to me that scientists themselves are not entirely innocent. The problem in part comes from a very shallow empirical view of science that sees truth as being somehow arrived at by summing up and averaging all the possible available data hence there is a supposed need to listen to every voice across the spectrum including whatever was defined as hidden or unheard voices in scientific debates nowadays usually those of children animals and the planet. Now leaving aside the remarkable ability of some to speak on behalf of the immature, the dumb and the inert - the real problem is that one of the real purposes of science is to exclude particularistic opinions at every opportunity not to include them. Of course scientists never been value free but it should strive to become so. Next educators, now it's true that fewer and fewer young people are studying science also at age of 16, high level physics has declined by 35 percent over 15 year period, undergraduate chemistry has gone down 30 percent over a ten year period and world renowned physics and chemistry departments have being closing to the point where some are suggesting would be unable to stand sustain any industry let alone explore much farther. The response of leading science educators has being to demand that the curriculum be made more "relevant and accessible" whatever that means. The suggestion in a number of reports beyond 2000, science education from 14 to 19 in the Robert's review is that science education should be pitched at the vast majority who will "consume science rather than produce it" and accordingly the new GCSE focuses on debates and controversies within science rather than what is caricatured and so would I think one fit into this as dry facts. Now, no doubt there is a good many people who would rather engage in an excited dialogue over some of the ethical issues raised by science and be given free expressions to the limitations of scientific evidence, but without any building blocks, it's unlikely that any of this will go very far other than to further confuse and concern them. Students have always complained as you I think revealed that science is too hard and irrelevant but the only thing that's new today is that we take those views seriously. It's educators who have lost their confidence as to the importance and impact of science. Exploring science as some kind of textual media analysis, thus remove the one element essential to a proper understanding which is practical experimentation, as we have also seen a growing use of field trails which are open ended, empirical and in conclusive over the use of controlled laboratory experiments which are conceptual, theoretical and rigorous. Children are being sure changed and confused by these developments and there is little evidence that they lead to any in harm uptakes of science studies at a higher level but again the government did not wait for the evidence before introducing the changes on the GCSE. Science was never taught as objective fact, that's a caricature, rather it presented itself as a succession of modules approximating to the truth but now by representing all of science as a series of negotiable truth, students are simple absorbing the uncertainties of the elites and those who ought to be educating them. Finally because I don't want to upset too many people, I am not trying to suggest that all scientists or all science educators are fallen into this trap but there is now sufficient to confuse matters and shape a problematic agenda. It will be the job of scientists and science educators to get that own house in order before complaining about government pressure, activist's lobbying or publican difference. Thank you.