Professor David Colquhoun FRS

Thursday, August 26 2010 at 7:30PM

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Professor David Colquhoun FRS

What's the talk about?

Professor Colquhoun works in the Department of Pharmacology at University College London. He has been an outspoken critic of pseudoscience and scientific fraud for many years, writing extensively on the topic, including articles in Nature and The Guardian. He is particularly critical of alternative medicine, and of the decision of a number of UK universities to offer degrees in complementary and alternative medicine, stating that they are "anti-science" and that "universities that run them should be ashamed of themselves." His interest in inference extends to methods that are used to assess and manage science, and critical assessment of research "metrics". In December 2009, Colquhoun won a Freedom of Information judgement, after a three-year campaign, requiring the University of Central Lancashire to release details of their BSc course in homeopathy.

Colquhoun created his personal website, Improbable Science, devoted to criticism of scientific fraud and quackery, in 2001. It has a particular focus on alternative medicine (AM), including such practices as homeopathy, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, and others, calling them "pure gobbledygook". In addition to his outspoken disapproval of AM in academia, Colquhoun frequently speaks out on his website against misrepresentation of AM as science in the media, and governmental support of AM.