Alice May Roberts
19 May 1973
|Education||The Red Maids' School|
|Alma mater||University of Wales (BSc, MB BCh)|
University of Bristol (PhD)
|Institutions||University of Birmingham|
National Health Service
British Broadcasting Corporation
University of Wales
University of Bristol
|Thesis||Rotator cuff disease in humans and apes : a palaeopathological and evolutionary perspective on shoulder pathology (2008)|
Alice May Roberts  is an English biological anthropologist, biologist, television presenter and author. Since 2012 she has been Professor of the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. Since 2019, she has been President of the charity Humanists UK, which campaigns for state secularism and for "a tolerant world where rational thinking and kindness prevail".(born 19 May 1973)
Early life and education
Roberts was born in Bristol in 1973, the daughter of an aeronautical engineer and an English and arts teacher. She grew up in the Bristol suburb of Westbury-on-Trym where she attended The Red Maids' School. In December 1988, she won the BBC1 Blue Peter Young Artists competition, appearing with her picture and the presenters on the front cover of the 10 December 1988 edition of the Radio Times.
Roberts studied medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine (now part of Cardiff University) and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB BCh) degree, having gained an intercalated Bachelor of Science degree in Anatomy.
Research and career
After graduating, Roberts worked as a junior doctor with the National Health Service in South Wales for eighteen months. In 1998 she left clinical medicine and worked as an anatomy demonstrator at the University of Bristol, becoming a lecturer there in 1999.
She spent seven years working part-time on her PhD in paleopathology, the study of disease in ancient human remains, receiving the degree in 2008. She was a senior teaching fellow at the University of Bristol Centre for Comparative and Clinical Anatomy, where her main roles were teaching clinical anatomy, embryology and physical anthropology, as well as researching osteoarchaeology and paleopathology. She stated in 2009 that she was working towards becoming a professor of anatomy.
From August 2009 until January 2012, Roberts was a visiting fellow in both the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Department of Anatomy of the University of Bristol. From 2009 to 2016 Roberts was Director of Anatomy at the NHS Severn Deanery School of Surgery and also an honorary fellow at Hull York Medical School.
Roberts has been a member of the advisory board of Cheltenham Science Festival for ten years and a member of the Advisory Board of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath since 2018.
Writing in the i newspaper in 2016, Roberts dismissed the aquatic ape hypothesis (AAH) as a distraction "from the emerging story of human evolution that is more interesting and complex", adding that AAH has become "a theory of everything" that is simultaneously "too extravagant and too simple". She concluded by saying that "science is about evidence, not wishful thinking".
Roberts and Aoife McLysaght co-presented the 2018 Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution in London. She is president of the British Science Association; her term started in September 2019.
Roberts first appeared on television in the Time Team Live 2001 episode, working on Anglo-Saxon burials at Breamore, Hampshire. She served as a bone specialist and general presenter in many episodes, including the spin-off series Extreme Archaeology. In August 2006, a Time Team special episode Big Royal Dig investigated the archaeology of Britain's royal palaces and Roberts was one of the main presenters.
Roberts wrote and presented a BBC Two series on anatomy and health entitled Dr Alice Roberts: Don't Die Young, which was broadcast from January 2007. She presented a five-part series on human evolution and early human migrations for the channel entitled The Incredible Human Journey, beginning on 10 May 2009. In September 2009, she co-presented (with Mark Hamilton) A Necessary Evil?, a one-hour documentary about the Burke and Hare murders.
In August 2010, she presented a one-hour documentary on BBC Four, Wild Swimming, inspired by Roger Deakin's book Waterlog. Roberts presented a four-part BBC Two series on archaeology in August–September 2010, Digging for Britain. Roberts explained, "We’re taking a fresh approach by showing British archaeology as it's happening out in the field, from the excitement of artefacts as they come out of the ground, through to analysing them in the lab and working out what they tell us about human history." The series returned in 2011 and again (on BBC Four) in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In March 2011, she presented a BBC documentary in the Horizon series entitled Are We Still Evolving? She presented the series Origins of Us, which aired on BBC Two in October 2011, examining how the human body has adapted through seven million years of evolution. The last part of this series featured Roberts visiting the Rift Valley in East Africa.
In April 2012, Roberts presented Woolly Mammoth: Secrets from the Ice on BBC Two. From 22 to 24 October 2012, she appeared, with co-presenter Dr George McGavin, in the BBC series Prehistoric Autopsy, which discussed the remains of early hominins such as Neanderthals, Homo erectus and Australopithecus afarensis. In May and June 2013 she presented the BBC Two series Ice Age Giants. In September 2014, she was a presenter on the Horizon programme Is Your Brain Male or Female?
In October 2014, she presented Spider House. In 2015, she co-presented a 3-part BBC TV documentary with Neil Oliver entitled The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice and wrote a book to tie in with the series: The Celts: Search for a Civilisation. In April–May 2016, she co-presented the BBC Two programme Food Detectives which looked at food nutrition and its effects on the body. In August 2016, she presented the BBC Four documentary, Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time, which explored the Must Farm Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire. In May 2017, she was a presenter of the BBC Two documentary The Day The Dinosaurs Died. In April 2018, she presented the six-part Channel 4 series Britain's Most Historic Towns, which examines the history of British towns, which was followed by a second series in May 2019 and a third series in November 2020.
In September 2018, she presented the BBC Two documentary King Arthur's Britain: The Truth Unearthed, which examines new archaeological discoveries that cast light on the political and trading situation in Britain during the Early Middle Ages. In December 2018, she presented a series of three Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, titled Who am I? and broadcast on BBC Four, with guest lecturer Aoife McLysaght.
Aired as a three part series in September 2020, Roberts co-presented the BBC's "The Big Dig" focusing on the finds at Saint James’s Park in London and Park Street in Birmingham.
On 12 February 2021, Roberts presented a one-hour BBC Two documentary, Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed, about Mike Parker Pearson's five-year-long quest that filled in a 400-year historical gap in the provenance of the bluestones of Stonehenge and Waun Mawn.
Awards and honours
In 2011, Roberts was elected an honorary fellow of the British Science Association, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. In 2014, she was selected by the Science Council as one of their leading UK practising scientists exemplars. During 2014, she was President of The Association for Science Education, and presented the Morgan-Botti lecture.
She has received honorary doctorates (DSc) from Royal Holloway, University of London; Bournemouth University; the Open University and the University of Leeds; and honorary Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University of Sussex.
Roberts lives with her husband, David Stevens, and two children, a daughter born in 2010 and a son born in 2013. She met her husband in Cardiff in 1997 when she was a medical student and he was an archaeology student. She is a pescatarian, an atheist and president of Humanists UK, beginning her three-year term in January 2019. Her children were assigned a faith school due to over-subscription of her local community schools; she campaigns against state-funded religious schools, citing her story as an example of the problems perpetuated by faith schools.
Roberts enjoys watercolour painting, surfing, wild swimming, cycling, gardening and pub quizzes. Roberts is an organiser of the Cheltenham Science Festival and school outreach programmes within the University of Bristol's Medical Sciences Division. In March 2007, she hosted the Bristol Medical School's charity dance show Clicendales 2007, to raise funds for the charity CLIC Sargent.
Roberts took her baby daughter with her when touring for the six-month filming of the first series of Digging for Britain in 2010.
- Proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Archaeopress. 2007. ISBN 978-1-4073-0035-1. OCLC 124507736.
- Don't Die Young: An Anatomist's Guide to Your Organs and Your Health. Bloomsbury Publishing. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7475-9025-5. OCLC 81195249.
- The Incredible Human Journey. Bloomsbury Publishing. 2009. ISBN 978-0-7475-9839-8. OCLC 646959203.
- The Complete Human Body. Dorling Kindersley. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4053-4749-5. OCLC 951155923.
- Evolution The Human Story. Dorling Kindersley. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4053-6165-1. OCLC 1038452947. Revised edition (2018), Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978-1-4654-7401-8
- Human anatomy : the definitive visual guide, London : Dorling Kindersley, 2014. ISBN 9780241292082, OCLC 1010946584
- The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us. Heron Books. 2014. ISBN 978-1-8486-6477-7. OCLC 910702281.
- The Celts: Search for a Civilisation. Heron Books. 2015. ISBN 978-1784293321. OCLC 967497115.
- Tamed: Ten Species that Changed our World. Hutchinson Books. 2017. ISBN 978-1786330611. OCLC 1038452971.
- Copson, Andrew; Roberts, Alice (2020). The Little Book of Humanism: Universal lessons on finding purpose, meaning and joy. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 978-0349425467.
- Roberts, Alice (2021). Ancestors : a history of Britain in seven burials. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1471188015.
- Alice Roberts publications indexed by Google Scholar
- Prof Alice Roberts [@theAliceRoberts] (20 May 2013). "On the day after my 40th birthday - I make it to 40k followers!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "In the hot seat: Alice Roberts". thisisbristol.co.uk. 11 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Lewis, Roz (27 March 2013). "TV academic Alice Roberts: 'I started as a doctor on £21,000'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Staff: Dr Alice May Roberts MB BCh BSc PhD". University of Bristol. 24 April 2009. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Redmaids' School Celebrating 375 Years" (PDF). Redmaids' School. 2009. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
This conference ... will be led by former Red Maid and star of BBC's Coast, Dr Alice Roberts ...
- "RT 3393 - 10-16 Dec 1988 (South) BLUE PETER - 30 Years - Alice Roberts with her Blue Peter picture". Radio Times (3393). 10 December 1988. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013 – via Kelly Books and Magazines.
- "University of Bristol: Directory of Experts". University of Bristol. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "Professor Alice Roberts - Professor of Public Engagement in Science". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- Carpool web series Carpool interview. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- Roberts, Alice May (2008). Rotator cuff disease in humans and apes: a palaeopathological and evolutionary perspective on shoulder pathology. jisc.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Bristol. OCLC 931580371. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.492449. Archived from the original on 1 December 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
- "Staff summaries". University of Bristol. 31 March 2009. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Deacon, Michael (5 May 2009). "Interview: Alice Roberts on The Incredible Human Journey". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
- "Cardiff researchers to test first online treatment for bipolar depression". Wales Online. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- "Research". alice-roberts.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
- "University of Bristol: Contact Directory". Retrieved 16 October 2009.
- BBC Two – Origins of Us. BBC.co.uk (31 October 2011).
- Surgery – Home – Severn Deanery – NHS Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Surgery.severndeanery.org.
- Dr Alice Roberts talks about her role at the University of Birmingham. YouTube. 20 January 2012.
- "University of Birmingham appoints Alice Roberts as first Professor of Public Engagement in Science". University of Birmingham. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Paton, Graeme (22 January 2012). "Alice Roberts hits out at science 'geeks'". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Meet Alice Roberts". Royal Institution. 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- The "i" newspaper, 17 September 2016, page 23
- Roberts, Alice (16 September 2016). "Sorry David Attenborough, we didn't evolve from 'aquatic apes' – here's why". The Conversation. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- Roberts, Alice; McLysaght, Aoife (2018). "Who am I?". The Royal Institution. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- Sherwood, Harriet (11 November 2018). "TV scientist Alice Roberts to be president of Humanists UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- "Bodies". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
- "The Team". Coast. BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Programmes - Most Popular - All 4". Channel 4.
- Time Team Live 2001. Channel 4.
- Roberts, Alice (2007). Don't Die Young: An Anatomist's Guide to Your Organs and Your Health. Bloomsbury Publishing: London, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7475-9025-5.
- BBC – Press Office – The BBC's Darwin Season press pack: BBC Two. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
- "A Necessary Evil?". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Wild Swimming BBC site, retrieved 14 August 2010. BBC.co.uk (12 August 2012).
- "Digging for Britain". BBC TV website. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Huge Roman coin find for hobbyist". BBC News. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- Hogan, Michael (13 August 2010). "Digging for history... but it's not Time Team". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "BBC Four - Digging for Britain - Episode guide". BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
- BBC Horizon Are We Still Evolving?. BBC.co.uk (27 August 2012).
- Plunkett, John (18 October 2011). "Origins of Us begins with 1.78m viewers". The Guardian. London.
- "Woolly Mammoth: Secrets from the Ice". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- "Prehistoric Autopsy". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Alex Campbell (17 May 2013). "Uncovering the secrets of North America's Ice Age giants". BBC. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Alice Roberts: Boys' and girls' brains aren't so different". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Professor Alice Roberts faces her fears". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice". BBC. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- Roberts, Alice (2015). The Celts: Search for a Civilisation. Heron Books. p. 320. ISBN 978-1784293321.
- "BBC Four - Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
- Amos, Jonathan (15 May 2017). "Dinosaur asteroid hit 'worst possible place'". Retrieved 17 May 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Britain's Most Historic Town". Channel 4. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- "King Arthur's Britain: The Truth Unearthed". BBC. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Alice Roberts on bones". BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- "Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed". BBC Two. 12 February 2021. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- Lidz, Franz (12 February 2021). "Was Stonehenge a 'Secondhand' Monument?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- Higgins, Charlotte (16 February 2021). "Another part of the Stonehenge mystery has been unearthed before our eyes". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
What is the Stonehenge that Parker Pearson brings us? It is a Stonehenge of a people who were competent and able. A Stonehenge of migrants, of people who travelled great distances, who gathered together in large numbers to erect remarkable structures, who cooperated. This is a speculative picture and tentative, as Parker Pearson would surely be the first to admit.
- Pearson, Mike Parker; Pollard, Josh; Richards, Colin; Welham, Kate; Kinnaird, Timothy; Shaw, Dave; Simmons, Ellen; Stanford, Adam; Bevins, Richard; Ixer, Rob; Ruggles, Clive; Rylatt, Jim; Edinborough, Kevan (February 2021). "The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales". Antiquity. 95 (379): 85–103. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.239. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "Professor Alice Roberts" (PDF). Bournemouth University. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "2014 list of leading 100 UK practising scientists". Science Council. January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Eventful: Morgan Botti Science Day 2014: Evening Lecture". Eventful. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- "Alice May Roberts". University of Leeds. July 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Professor Alice Roberts". University of Sussex. July 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- "Alice Roberts wins Humanist of the Year at BHA Annual Conference 2015". British Humanist Association. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- Roberts, Alice (2014). The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us. Heron Books. ISBN 978-1-8486-6477-7.
- "Royal Society David Attenborough Award and Lecture | Royal Society". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
- Gallagher, Paul (30 August 2014). "Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Brief Candle in the Dark - with Richard Dawkins. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
I'm a vegetarian, who eats fish (29:50)
- "Q&A: Alice Roberts". New Humanist. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- "Dr Alice Roberts: Anatomist, author, broadcaster and distinguished supporter of Humanism". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "Stop funding faith, says BBC presenter Alice Roberts with children at church school". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- "Prof Alice Roberts". Eden TV. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Science Week: Alice's inspiration". BBC News. 9 March 2009.
- "Interview with Alice Roberts". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
- Roberts interviewed by Robert Llewellyn on Carpool, 25 September 2009
- Brown, K. R.; Silver, I. A.; Musgrave, J. H.; Roberts, A. M. (2010). "The use of μCT technology to identify skull fracture in a case involving blunt force trauma". Forensic Science International. 206 (1–3): e8–e11. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.06.013. PMID 20673617.
- Lockwood, A. M.; Roberts, A. M. (2007). "The anatomy demonstrator of the future: An examination of the role of the medically-qualified anatomy demonstrator in the context of tomorrow's doctors and modernizing medical careers". Clinical Anatomy. 20 (4): 455–459. doi:10.1002/ca.20427. PMID 17072876. S2CID 46567268.
- Roberts, A. M.; Peters, T. J.; Robson Brown, K. A. (2007). "New light on old shoulders: palaeopathological patterns of arthropathy and enthesopathy in the shoulder complex". Journal of Anatomy. 211 (4): 485–492. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2007.00789.x. PMC 2375834. PMID 17711424.
- Roberts, A. M.; Robson-Brown, K.; Musgrave, J. H.; Leslie, I. (2006). "A case of bilateral scapholunate advanced collapse in a Romano-British skeleton from Ancaster". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 16 (3): 208. doi:10.1002/oa.817.
- Robson-Brown, Kate; Roberts, Alice (eds.) (2007). BABAO 2004 : Proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, University of Bristol. British Archaeological Reports. Oxford, England: Archaeopress. ISBN 978-1-4073-0035-1.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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