David King

David King

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 22 May 2005

Chief Scientific Adviser, Chemist

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Prof Sir David King. He's had a testing four and a half years in the job - his tenure has coincided with an epidemic of foot and mouth disease, as well as a series of ongoing public health controversies played out in the media, such as the safety of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) and concerns over genetically-modified crops.

He was born in South Africa and brought up in a middle-class suburb of Johannesburg. As a teenager he was taken by his school to visit a township to see how black South Africans lived. He says it was an eye-opening experience and, while he pursued his scientific studies, he also took a stance against the political regime and wrote letters denouncing apartheid. His activism brought him to the attention of South Africa's secret police - he was questioned and left with little option but to leave the country. He came to Britain and continued his studies here. He pursued an academic career - he was made the 1920 Professor of Physical Chemistry at Cambridge University in 1988, a post he still holds, and has recently been confirmed for a second term as the Government's chief scientist.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Paul Simon

2.

Paul Simon

Homeless

Artist: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Others who chose this artist

Béla Bartók

3.

Béla Bartók

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta - 2nd movement

Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Europe Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Others who chose this artist

Norah Jones

8.

Castaway's favourite

Norah Jones

Don't Know Why

Others who chose this artist

9.

10.

Book

Wild Reckoning, An Anthology Provoked by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring by John Burnside

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Bunch of canvases with oils and brushes

Others who chose a similar luxury

Contact us

This site contains archive material. To comment or bring something to our attention, please get in touch.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.