NONLINEAR NEWS: Volume One Issue One (June 1995)


Chaos in the Government

Professor Robert May has been appointed the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser following the retirement of Sir William Stewart. Sir Stewart's time `in-office' is reviewed in THES (June 9th 1995, page 7).

Professor May is well known for his pioneering chaotic models of biological populations, and is currently Royal Society Research Professor in zoology at Oxford. He told the Telegraph "I suggested that the Cabinet press release should say that I was noted for my work on chaos which made me particularly suited for the job. I don't think they thought that was funny - but I did."

According to the Oxford Zoology gopher, "Robert May is interested in most things. His current research includes chaos and forecasting, dynamical and evolutionary aspects of infectious diseases and of the immune system, the implications of self-organised spatial structures for population persistence and for evolutionary games, and aspects of biological diversity and its conservation. He is also involved with the Natural History Museum, Kew, the Joint Nature Conservancy Council, the Darwin Initiative, WWF(UK) and the Nuffield Foundation."

New Scientist was worried that this might make him too much of a theorist to be trusted with British science, but he told them he thinks ecology is not a bad training for administration: you predict how a system will react to disturbance and then test the theory. "That's not a world away from good management - the aim is to keep the system flourishing."

Chair Appointments

Details of appointments taken from University of Leeds Reporter Number 377, 5 May 1995.

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Last Updated: 15 June 1995.