Phil Mason

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Philip E. Mason
Born 1972 (age 44–45)[1][2]
Fields Chemistry, physics, nuclear physics
Institutions Cornell University
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Thesis Novel Architectures in Polymer Chemistry (1997)
Doctoral advisor I.W. Parsons[3]
Known for Criticism of creationism and religion, criticism of feminism, criticism of pseudoscience, advocacy of the scientific method and atheism, and his work on the reaction of alkali metals with water.

Philip E. Mason is a British scientist working in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. He also videoblogs and posts YouTube videos criticizing creationism, religion, pseudoscience and feminism, under the pseudonym Thunderf00t.

Early life[edit]

Mason received a BSc (2:1) (1993) and PhD (1997) in chemistry from the University of Birmingham.[3] From 2003[4] until at least August 2010, Mason was affiliated with the University of Bristol.[5]


Mason worked at Cornell University's department of food science from 2002 until 2012, where he studied the molecular interactions between water and sugar molecules,[6] as well as molecular modeling with regard to proteins and guanidinium solutions. As of 2013, he was working at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic as a member of a research group headed by Pavel Jungwirth.[3] Mason was the lead author in a paper, published in Nature Chemistry, that argued that alkali metal reactions with water can cause a Coulomb explosion.[7][8] Mason has co-authored 34 scientific papers, of which he is the lead author of 20. As of August 2016 he is still actively publishing research.[9]

Online activities[edit]

Through his YouTube account Thunderf00t, he has made a series of videos titled "Why do people laugh at creationists?",[10] focusing primarily on Kent Hovind's arguments in public seminars. Sociologist Richard Cimino has described the tone of these videos as "that of the professional, well-educated, and articulate British academic expert exposing—in voiceover—the irrational behavior and attitudes of the believer."[11] Mason (originally known only as Thunderf00t) debated the creationist VenomFangX, a YouTube blogger who supports creationism, in a series of public exchanges that lasted almost two years. Mason is also known for responding to arguments made by Ray Comfort and intelligent design proponent Casey Luskin.[12]

Mason's Twitter account was temporarily suspended on 19 September 2014 for allegedly engaging in abusive behaviour towards Anita Sarkeesian and other feminists.[10] Mason speculated that a short-lived campaign had been mounted against him.[13][14]


  1. ^ Mason, Phil (9 May 2014). "Thunderf00t and Venomfangx Reunion -Live". Thunderf00t/YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Thunderf00t (24 July 2009). "The Thunderf00t - Ray Comfort discussion (Part 4)". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Phil Mason". Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Mason, P. E.; Neilson, G. W.; Dempsey, C. E.; Barnes, A. C.; Cruickshank, J. M. (8 April 2003). "The hydration structure of guanidinium and thiocyanate ions: Implications for protein stability in aqueous solution". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (8): 4557–4561. PMC 404697Freely accessible. PMID 12684536. doi:10.1073/pnas.0735920100. 
  5. ^ "News". University of Bristol. August 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Experimental molecular dynamics studies of water structuring by sugars
  7. ^ Philip Ball (26 Jan 2015). "Sodium's explosive secrets revealed". 
  8. ^ Mason, PE; Uhlig, F; Vaněk, V; Buttersack, T; Bauerecker, S; Jungwirth, P (26 Jan 2015). "Coulomb explosion during the early stages of the reaction of alkali metals with water". Nature Chemistry. 7: 250–254. doi:10.1038/nchem.2161. 
  9. ^ Mason, Philip E. (4 August 2016). "A Non-Exploding Alkali Metal Drop on Water: From Blue Solvated Electrons to Bursting Molten Hydroxide". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 55: 13019–13022. doi:10.1002/anie.201605986. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  10. ^ a b YouTube’s Heroes Program Empowers The Speech Police; The Federalist; by Denise C. McAllister; 27 September 2016
  11. ^ Cimino, Richard (2014). Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America. Oxford University Press. p. 99. 
  12. ^ Farley, Tim (November–December 2009). "Skepticism via YouTube". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Strickland, Derek (20 September 2014). "Twitter Suspends Anita Sarkeesian Critic for 'Abusive Behavior'". Bright Side of News. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Mason, Phil (16 September 2014). "Thunderf00t suspended from twitter- 'Sarkeesian strike back' #Gamergate". Thunderf00t, YouTube.

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