The President of the British Academy, Professor Sir David Cannadine, will today promote the role of academics in defending rationalism and evidence and award two medals to those whose work “has brought academic rigour into public debate on the major challenges of our day”.
Professor Naomi Oreskes will receive the British Academy Medal for her books Merchants of Doubt and The Collapse of Western Civilization, both co-authored with Dr Erik M. Conway, and for her commitment to documenting the role of corporations in distorting scientific findings for political ends.
Dr Ben Goldacre will receive the President’s Medal for his role in championing evidence and reason through his writing, broadcasting and campaigning.
Professor Sir David Cannadine President of the British Academy, will say:
“At a time of fake news and the distrust of experts and expertise, there can surely be no better time to acclaim and applaud those who are standing up for truth and evidence.”
He will say that both winners have been “relentless in their pursuit of truth and in fighting so-called fake news with facts.”
“Both scientists and humanists know that the big challenges that we face as a society will not be fixed by science alone, but by all the disciplines working together. And it is only with reason, evidence and wisdom offered by the academic community that these problems will be solved.”
The presentation of the medals will take place at a ceremony following the annual general meeting of the Fellows of the British Academy at the Academy’s home on Carlton House Terrace. Awarding the British Academy and President’s Medals, the President will also confirm the election of 76 new Fellows – to be announced publicly on Friday 19 July.