Gareth and Rhodri are father and son 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 how science develops: how its findings spread and influence opinion, how its ideas come to be accepted or rejected by particular communities, and how those communities grow, fragment, and decline over time.
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
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 is Lecturer in Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Rhodri has published a dozen or so papers on citation networks, dissemination biases, and the social shaping of scientific knowledge in leading journals in the social and biomedical sciences.
Aside from his research, Rhodri is an award winning educator. Prior to taking up his lectureship post in 2024, Rhodri spent two years working as Research Analyst and Academic Coordinator at Baillie Gifford. Before his PhD, he worked in the House of Commons and Scottish Parliament as a Press and Policy Advisor.