Letter: A Christmas cheer

January 12, 2001

I read with dismay the criticism of Kevin Warwick and his Royal Institution Christmas lectures (Soapbox, THES, December 22/29).

With my youngest son, I attended all of the lectures and found them balanced and thought-provoking. They were not "sensationalist", as asserted by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.

My interest in science and technology was inspired by the Royal Institution lectures more than 30 years ago. I am pleased that they still convey science in a way that captures young people's imagination.

It is sad that academic scientists seem invariably to criticise any scientist who succeeds in reaching a wide audience.

I applaud Warwick for his lectures, and I trust that the Royal Institution will not allow the SSAISB to influence its choice of future Christmas lecturers.

Ralph Rayner
Fugro GEOS,
Swindon,
Wiltshire

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