Back in the day when I was an MP, I warned the House of Commons that the chances of an impact by a 'Near Earth Object' - more commonly known as a comet or asteroid - are 100%. Worse still, I claimed the chance of an incoming object large enough to wipe out most, or all, of the human race is also 100%. It's just a matter of 'when.' People laughed, a lot. They thought that this was one wacky campaign too many. One paper showed a picture of me with the title MP to blame for the end of the world. But I knew my ground, as my grandfather, Ernst Öpik, was one of the world's leading astronomers on this subject.
Countries like the EU, Israel and India have already banned the use of animals in cosmetic testing because animals don't predict the human response. We know this. We know that animals do not provide biologically meaningful human substitutes- and yet we continue to sustain these methods in medical research with our funds and faith.
When people think about publishing, they tend to think about content, and assume that the technology challenges in publishing are about transferring the printed page to screen. For many consumer publishing businesses such as newspapers, magazines and trade books this is mostly true, but in science and education publishing the challenges are much greater as we are increasingly in the software business.
My daughter recently had to do a project for her science home work. She was making a board game that involved great scientists. Of course there was Einstein, Peter Higgs, Dmitri Mendeleev, Euclid, Joseph Black, Jan Van Helmont, Galileo, Schrödinger (and his cat)... Only the cat wasn't male. And that was because it was a theoretical cat.
Over 8,000 people were investigated, revealing that those who held a religious or spiritual understanding of life, had a higher incidence of depression compared with those with a secular life view.
When I was young I was probably like a lot of kids, - not really sure what science was, why it was important, and disengaged. I've since learned that science is one of the most engaging, inspiring and creative subjects on the curriculum. It's the part of the school day when the entire universe enters the classroom and young people have the chance to not only learn about the world we live in but also the challenges we face in the future...
The Met Office now has a team of space weather advisors, monitoring and forecasting potential disruption to the UK due to extra terrestrial events. By this, I mean the possible disruption to the technologies and infrastructure we all now heavily depend upon, including communications systems, power networks, satellite services like GPS, and the aviation industry.
If you were asked to draw a scientist, what would it look like? An image resembling Einstein, perhaps? Same question; but this time an engineer. Would you draw a man with a spanner? And would a computer scientist look like a guy who's keen on science fiction and junk food, working alone in a dark room?
When volunteers come out to conservation projects they like to get involved with surveys in the hope of seeing interesting animals. But volunteers don't always realise where the data they are helping to collect goes.
In 2007 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the following: 'There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.' Last year, Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry said: 'In five years I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore.' There is a trend here which suggests that people are notoriously bad at predicting the future even in their own fields of expertise.
We have a problem in the UK, and that problem is having a detrimental impact on our performance, our growth, and our ability to compete on a global stage.
It was disappointingly timely that last week the hostility often faced by women in positions of seniority or visibility in public life was brought to the fore by the Daily Mail's diary story about the panel of experts invited to discuss the results of the BICEP2 study on Newsnight.
What do you think the opposite sex finds attractive in you? If you're a guy, do you think that women prefer bulging muscles and washboard abs? Or, if you're a woman, maybe you think men prefer skinny girls, like the ones we see on the catwalk? If so, you're likely mistaken.
If the differences between sexes of the same species are so profound and diverse then imagine the differences with other species with whom we share even less genetics, biochemistry and physiology.
I really support the essence and ambition of the Sunday Assembly. However, Atheism's greatest strength will always be it's intrinsic inclusiveness, honesty, openness and enlightened spirit. This must not be forgot in an attempt to market the Sunday Assembly as a friendly (yet ignorant) song and dance.