Stephen Webster investigates the links between scientists’ beliefs and their research.
Modern science is extremely complex, and it makes huge demands on scientists. Like people in any walk of life, scientists are infinitely varied human beings. But all of them are expected to conform to the rules and regulations required by scientific investigation.
Stephen Webster is a Philosopher of Science at Imperial College London. He wants to know how an individual scientist’s personal, psychological and intellectual qualities map onto their chosen area of science. How much of a scientist’s personality is reflected in their work? Should subjective private beliefs be a part of objective scientific outcomes? What happens if tensions develop between a scientist’s beliefs and the formal demands of science? If tensions arise, how should they best be resolved?
In this series of three programmes, Stephen talks to six scientists about themselves and about their scientific work.
In the second programme, Stephen meets Clare Lloyd. Clare is Professor of Respiratory Immunology, and she runs a busy medical research lab at Imperial College London. Her lab investigates asthma, and how allergens can inflame nasal airways, especially in small babies. Clare talks to Stephen about the pressures of running a research lab, and how she goes about providing her research team with a productive working environment. As a Principal Investigator, Clare has to encourage and inspire her researchers. She also has to secure finance for her research projects and make sure the lab runs smoothly and effectively, because ultimately, Clare’s success as a scientist will be judged by the results the lab produces.