Susan Greenfield

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Greenfield, 2006.
Style over substance
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The cold dead heart inside me grew heavier and heavier until I was entirely just that, a cold heavy lump. Plodding towards what end?
—Greenfield channels Dan Brown in her novel

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a professor of pharmacology at Oxford. Her primary competence and field of expertise is the promotion of Baroness Susan Greenfield in the mainstream media as "Britain's best-known scientist."[1]

She has been called out by Ben Goldacre on a few occasions[2][3] for such completely bat-shit insane ideas as "video games are causing dementia in children", and "internet use is linked with autism".[4][note 1] All of these claims might be reasonable, if she were even submitting her ideas for peer review and public scrutiny, but instead, she does science by press conference and her defenders seem only interested in accusing her sceptics of sexism.[5] She claims she publishes material in peer reviewed journals though:

"It's unfair. I publish three or four papers a year in peer-reviewed journals."[6]

Baroness Greenfield has also endorsed the Mindfit "brain training" computer games system,[1] a snip at £88 and supported by no studies published in reputable journals.[7] It is not clear if she profits directly from the product in question.

She used to be head of the Royal Institution, the oldest independent research body in the world. After she was fired for blowing so much cash that its annual report had to be printed entirely in red ink,[8] she claimed sexual discrimination (rather than competence discrimination[9]) and tried to mount a corporate coup[10] (which failed).

She has also written an incredibly awful science fiction novel, 2121: A Tale from the Next Century which prompted the Grauniad's reviewer to write:

How is it bad? Let me count the ways. It is badly conceived, badly realised, badly characterised, badly paced and above all badly written. On the plus side, the typeface is nice and I quite liked the front cover art.[11]

In addition, 2121 also scored an entire section in Ansible for terrible quotes.[12]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. She's got it backwards: Autistics do love the internet, but they were autistic before they discovered the wonders of wifi.