Public Evening Lecture: Professor Steve Rayner

23 February 2017


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Invitation to SCI’s Free Public Evening Lecture

Professor Steve Rayner: Science in a post-truth world

Wednesday 22 March 2017

  • Science is an evidence-based discipline and, in a post-truth society where trust in major institutions is being eroded, science and scientists should be a source of dependable information.
  • Can public scepticism to science and technology be explained by a failure to understand the issues or should external factors be taken into account?
  • Prof Steve Rayner explores how personal beliefs may impact our views and affect how we engage with science.

It is important that politics and policies are evidence-based for them to be most effective but there is growing disagreement over facts, a topic recently given prominence since President Trump’s inauguration. On Wednesday 22 March 2017, at SCI’s Public Evening Lecture, Professor Steve Rayner will discuss how and why personal identity can influence opinions about science and technology and analyse possible approaches to this issue. He will argue that seeking to ‘correct’ the views of others by recourse to ‘facts’ can lead to polarisation and conflict rather than consensus about how the world works.

This lecture will consider social and policy issues as well as science and will be worthwhile for anyone studying or interested in those disciplines.

About the Speaker
Steve Rayner is a widely known interdisciplinary expert in the fields of science and climate change policy who was included in the 2008 Smart List by Wired Magazine as ‘one of the 15 people the next US President should listen to’. He has served on a number of prestigious bodies and is the James Martin Professor of Science and Civilisation and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation, and Society at the University of Oxford.

Professor Rayner describes himself as an ‘undisciplined social scientist’, having trained in philosophy, comparative religion, and political anthropology, and his current research focuses on three related areas: the future of cities, alternative policy frameworks for climate change, and the emergence of novel technologies, especially climate geoengineering.

Date for your diary:     Wednesday 22 March 2017
Venue:                          SCI HQ, 15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS
Reception opens at 18.00 and the lecture starts at 18.30. This is a free event.
There will be a drinks and networking reception with the opportunity to meet the speaker after the lecture. Please contact to book a place on the event. More information about each lecture in the series is available at

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