Lord Martin Rees
Geoff Watts meets Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society, who shares his perspective on how he has adapted to the role and the influence it can have on the international stage.
Lord Rees discusses the role that science academies have in setting international standards for things like carbon emissions, nuclear test bans, the protection of wilderness areas such as Antarctica and the freedom of scientists to travel and communicate across political boundaries.
The Royal Society, which celebrates its 350th birthday in 2010, is the nation's science academy, rewarding those it sees as the greatest living scientists with fellowships as well as giving out research grants, holding meetings and publishing journals. Increasingly, it is issuing statements of opinion, often of its President, on science-based political issues such as climate change, GM food or sustainable energy.