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About us

Gareth, Rhodri, and Trystan are father and sons and, as might only be expected, argue a lot. Well, we argue with lots of people, but arguments between us are a bit different. We don’t worry much about what we might say to each other.

Gareth is interested in (amongst other things) the neurobiology of social behaviour, Rhodri is a social scientist working on citation networks as a way to understand how scientific ideas develop, and Trystan works on how social networks influence the transmission of disease. So we each harness the term ‘social’ though to different ends. Communication even amongst us is not uncomplicated.

Gareth and Rhodri have attempted to resolve some of the arguments between them in The Matter of Facts, published by MIT Press in May 2020. That book takes an affectionate but not uncritical look at science. Scientists are professional persuaders, in the business of persuading others of the importance of what they do. To that end, they adopt a menagerie of strategies to convince funders, editors, the public and their peers and sometimes they even convince themselves. The book looks at how these strategies can distort the evidence, and this blog aims to extend its arguments.

Meet The Contributors

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Gareth Leng

Gareth is Professor of Experimental Physiology at the University of Edinburgh.


He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a former president of the International Neuroendocrine Federation and a former editor-in chief of The Journal of Neuroendocrinology.


He has published more than 300 research papers and reviews, mainly on various aspects of how the hypothalamus regulates hormone secretion and how it regulates appetite, and he is the author of The Heart of the Brain; the hypothalamus and its hormones.


Rhodri Ivor Leng

Rhodri holds a first class honours degree in Politics from the University of Glasgow, a Masters in Legal and Political Theory from the University of York, and an MSc(R) and PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh.


Rhodri has published several papers on citation networks, dissemination biases, and the social shaping of scientific knowledge. 


Aside from his research, Rhodri is also an award winning tutor, receiving a EUSA award for teaching excellence for his work at Edinburgh. Prior to returning to academia, Rhodri worked in the House of Commons and Scottish Parliament as a press and policy advisor.


Trystan Stewart Leng

Trystan holds a first class joint honours degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, an MSc(R) in Mathematics for Real World Systems, and is currently in his third year of a PhD in the same subject at the University of Warwick. 

Trystan has published several papers on his work modelling the spread of infectious diseases. 

Aside from his research, Trystan teaches mathematics at the University of Warwick. He is currently also tutoring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who show promise in mathematics.

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