Roger Highfield

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recorded February 2014

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Roger Highfield (born 1958 in Wales) is an author,[1] museum executive and a science journalist.[2][3]

Highfield studied physical chemistry, becoming the first to bounce a neutron off a soap bubble,[4] and received a DPhil from the University of Oxford.[2]

Highfield was the Science editor of British newspaper The Daily Telegraph for more than 20 years.[5] He was the editor of the British magazine New Scientist from 2008 to 2011.[2][3]

As of 2011 Highfield became the "Director of External Affairs" of the Science Museum Group.[5]

In 2012, he published the results of a mass intelligence test [6] with Adrian Owen. The same year, the Royal Society invited him to give the Wilkins Bernal Medawar Lecture, Heroes of Science.[7]

In 2014, he gave the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture for Save the Rhino with Simon Singh.

Highfield is a member of the Longitude Committee,[8] has written or coauthored seven books, and edited two written by Craig Venter. He still writes for The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard [9] and for Newsweek.[10]

After testing a treadmill desk in 2006,[11] Highfield uses one at work in the Science Museum and has advocated their widespread adoption.[12][13]

The Mind Readers[edit]

In 2014 he wrote a 10,000 word article The Mind Readers in Mosaic,[14] published by the Wellcome Trust. His account of the efforts to communicate with brain damaged patients that suffer disorders of consciousness was reproduced in other media worldwide, such as Gizmodo,[15] The Week,[16] The Independent [17] and Pacific Standard.[18]


In 2011 his book Supercooperators: The Mathematics of Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour (Or, Why We Need Each Other to Succeed) was published, co-authored with Martin Nowak.

Manfred Milinski in Nature describes the book as "part autobiography, part textbook, and reads like a best-selling novel."[19]

David Willetts, in the Financial Times, described the book as an "excellent example" of using the nexus of evolutionary biology, game theory and neuroscience to understand the development of cooperation in society[20]

After Dolly[edit]

In 2006 his book After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning was published, co-authored with Ian Wilmut.

Steven Poole in The Guardian describes the book as "an extremely lucid and readable explanation of the history of cloning and biologists' ideas for the future."[21]

The Science of Harry Potter[edit]

In 2002 his book The Science of Harry Potter:How Magic Really Works was published. Christine Kenneally in The New York Times describes the book as "an enjoyably indirect survey of modern science."[22]

The Physics of Christmas[edit]

In 1998 his book The Physics of Christmas: from the aerodynamics of reindeer to the thermodynamics of turkey was published. The British edition, Can Reindeer Fly?, got the world's shortest book review ('No')[23]

Frontiers of Complexity[edit]

In 1996 his book Frontiers of Complexity: the search for order in a chaotic world was published, co-authored with Peter Coveney.

The Private Lives of Albert Einstein[edit]

In 1993 his book The Private Lives of Albert Einstein was published, co-authored with Paul Carter.

The Arrow of Time[edit]

In 1991 his book The Arrow of Time was published, co-authored with Peter Coveney, which became a Sunday Times top ten bestseller and New York Times notable book of the year.


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  2. ^ a b c "Roger Highfield biography". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Roger Highfield on science writing: 'Grab them with your first sentence'". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). 20 March 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
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  5. ^ a b "The Royal Institution - Roger Highfield". The Royal Institution. 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
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  19. ^ Milinski, M. (2011). "Biology: A revolution in evolution". Nature 471 (7338): 294–295. doi:10.1038/471294b.  edit
  20. ^ The invisible hand that binds us all by David Willetts FT 24-Apr-2011
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