Simon L. Singh, PhD
Simon Singh, PhD, MBE, is a physicist and a staunch defender of science. For questioning the claims that chiropractic can effectively treat some childhood conditions, in an article in The Guardian (“Beware the spinal trap,” 2008 Apr 9), Dr Singh was sued for libel under Britain’s antiquated law by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). After Dr Singh won the right to present a defense of fair comment, the BCA withdrew their suit on 15 April 2010. Dr Singh became a cause celebre for a growing movement to modernise British libel laws, which tend to chill free speech and serve to protect “alternative medicine” practitioners from critical analysis. A British organization that promotes the public understanding of science, Sense About Science, has launched a campaign to publicize Dr Singh’s plight and to liberalize those laws.
In 1990, he joined the BBC’s Science Department where he produced programs such as Tomorrow’s World and directed the Horizon award-winning documentary “Fermat’s Last Theorem” and more recently, Dr Singh has also turned to radio and freelance writing. He has authored Fermat’s Last Theorem (re-titled Fermat’s Enigma in America), The Code Book, and Big Bang. He joined with Edzard Ernst, MD, to publish Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial in 2008 (see below).
Dr Singh earned a PhD in experimental particle physics from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and spent two years at CERN in Geneva. He is the maiden winner of the Lilavati Award by the International Congress of Mathematicians (2010).
- “It is too late for me, but libel laws must change for the public good,” The Telegraph, 2010 Feb 22.
- “Prince Charles only hears the science he wants to hear,” Notes & Theories: Dispatches from the Science Desk, 2009 Mar 16.
- “Homeopathy – what a waste of time,” The Sunday Times, 2008 Apr 23.
- “Beware the spinal trap: some practitioners claim it is a cure-all but research suggests chiropractic therapy can be lethal,” The Guardian, 2008 Apr 9.
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine, with Edzard Ernst (W.W. Norton, 2008). Whether you are an ardent believer in alternative medicine, a skeptic, or are simply baffled by the range of services and opinions, this groundbreaking analysis lays to rest doubts and contradictions with authority, integrity, and clarity. Over thirty of the most popular treatments-including acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic, and herbal medicines-are examined for their benefits and potential dangers. What works and what doesn't? Who can you trust, and who is ripping you off? In its scrutiny of alternative and complementary cures, this book also strives to reassert the primacy of the scientific method as a means for determining public health practice and policy.
In the News:
- “Calendar Geeks call for libel reform,” The Guardian, 2010 Oct 28. (includes video)
- “Author Simon Singh puts up a fight in the war on science,” Wired, 2010 Aug 30.
- “Launch of the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign,” Sense About Science, 2010 May 26.
- “Simon Singh wins libel battle against chiropractors,” by Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, 2010 Apr 15.
- “Chiropractors' libel case dropped against Simon Singh,” BBC News, 2010 Apr 15. (includes video)
- “Simon Singh wins libel case,” by George Eaton, New Statesman, 2010 Apr 15.
- “Simon Singh wins key battle in alternative medicine libel case,” by Stephen Adams, The Telegraph, 2010 Apr 2.
- “Simon Singh wins libel court battle,” The Guardian, 2010 Apr 1. (includes video)
- ‘If I lose £1 million, it’s worth it for libel law reform, says Simon Singh,” by Tom Whipple, The Sunday Times, 2010 Mar 27.
- “The British Chiropractic Association responds to Simon Singh,” by Steven Novella, Science-Based Medicine, 2009 Jul 8.
- “Simon Singh’s libel suit,” by Steven Novella, Skeptiblog, 2009 May 11.
- “Are Britain's libel laws stifling science worldwide?” Alok Jha interviews Dr Singh, The Guardian, 2010 Mar 8.
Selected Video Appearances:
- See You In Court: Simon Singh vs The BCA (1/2)
- See You In Court: Simon Singh vs The BCA (2/2)
- “Alternative Medicine — do the benefits match the claims?” Alchemist Cafe, Dublin, 2008 Nov.
- 2011 Jan 28: “Alternative medicine & libel reform,” Skeptics in the Pub, Hampshire, UK.
- 2011 Jan 18: “Science, media & libel,” Cambridge Union Society, UK.
The Online Simon Singh: