Robyn Williams

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Not to be confused with Robin Williams.
This is about the Australian science journalist; for others, see Robin Williams (disambiguation).
Robyn Williams
Robyn Williams.jpg
Born (1944-01-30) 30 January 1944 (age 72)
Buckinghamshire, England
Occupation Science journalist & broadcaster

Robyn Williams AM (born 1944) is a science journalist and broadcaster resident in Australia who has hosted the Science Show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation since 1975, Ockham's Razor (created 1984) and In Conversation (created 1997).


Robyn Williams was born in Buckinghamshire, England, and educated in Vienna and London. He graduated from the University of London with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree. During this period he was active in university acting and, like many other notable students, made (guest) appearances in the BBC series The Goodies, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Doctor Who.

Professional life[edit]

Williams emigrated to Australia and joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Science Unit in 1972 where, after several years in background production and interviewing, in 1975 he began hosting the award winning Science Show, a one-hour (format) science based radio interview show.

Ockham's Razor (15-minute format) followed in 1984, with Williams introducing a leading scientist or personality who then expounds from a prepared text on a topic of their choice, with a view to making a subject simple and accessible to the public, hence the title relating to the famous statement on parsimony by William of Ockham. In Conversation (15-minute format) commenced in 1997, with Williams interviewing the personality.

Other media work[edit]

  • Narrating Nature of Australia, a series for ABC TV;
  • Appearing in World Safari with David Attenborough;

At his instigation, the ABC and Australian Museum established the Eureka Awards for Excellence in Science Communication and Innovation.

Trade union activism[edit]

In 1977 Williams gave an impassioned speech to the ABC Staff Association against the ABC management's quiescence in the face of budget cuts and political interference. He said a UK proposal that the government appoint one third of BBC Board members had been publicly opposed by BBC management but that ABC Chairman acted as if he headed an organisation rivalling the BBC. Following his speech the meeting voted unanimously that it had no-confidence in the ABC Chair John Norgard.[1]

Honorary and subsidiary positions[edit]

He is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales.

In 2009, Williams joined the council of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.[2]


Williams has written some 10 books, with 3 used in high school reading lists. His autobiography is And Now For Something Completely Different, a reference to an interview (on psychiatry) with Monty Python star John Cleese. His book, Future Perfect, focuses on cities, transport, communication, education and science.[3] He is the author of a dystopian novel 2007 (published in 2001) describing a rebellion of animals.[4]



  1. ^ Molomby, Tom (1991). Is there a moderate on the roof? ABC Years. Port Melbourne: William Heinemann Australia. pp. 97–100. 
  2. ^ "Voiceless, the animal protection institute". 
  3. ^ Speaker Profile of Robyn Williams at The Celebrity Speakers Bureau
  4. ^
  5. ^ It's an Honour AM
  6. ^ Australian Museum Eureka Prizes
  7. ^ It's an Honour Centenary Medal

External links[edit]