Member Profile: Past President and Life Member, Robyn Williams

Robyn Williams is a past president and life member of the ASC. He is a science journalist and presenter of Radio National’s Science Show (since 1975), Ockham’s Razor and In Conversation.

Robyn is as prominent on radio as he is on television, having narrated programs such as Nature of Australia, and Catalyst, and appeared on World Safari with David Attenborough.

He has conducted countless interviews with scientists for ABC TV and he hosted a link between leading scientists of Australia and the United Kingdom at the Grand Launch for the Royal Institution of Great Britain, attended by David Attenborough and the Queen.

Robyn Williams is highly respected in the academic world. In 1993 he was the first journalist elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 1988, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the Universities of Sydney, Macquarie and Deakin. The ANU awarded him a Doctorate of Law, and he is a Visiting Professor at the University of NSW and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland.

He was appointed AM in the 1988 Australian Bicentenary Honours list. He was elected a National Living Treasure by the National Trust in 1987 and even has a star named after him by the Sydney Observatory. Robyn has served in various positions including President of the Australian Museum Trust, Deputy Chairman of the Commission For The Future, and President of The ANZAAS Congress. He is an Ambassador of the Queensland Museum Foundation.

Robyn Williams has written over 10 books, three of which are on the Higher School Certificate reading list. In 1994, Robyn Williams took up a Reuters Fellowship at Oxford University where he wrote his autobiography And Now For Something Completely Different, in deference to one of his most popular interviews with John Cleese on psychiatry. His book, Future Perfect, focuses on cities, transport, communication, education and science.

Although Robyn Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in England, he admits to having spent as much time acting as he has studying. Early in his career he made guest appearances in The Goodies, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Dr Who and stood in for Tom Jones for four months in his TV series.

Next week Robyn celebrates 40 years since joining the ABC Science Unit.

See Robyn address the ASC National Conference on Monday 27 February.