Simon L. Singh, PhD


London, UK

Simon Singh, PhD, MBE, is a physicist and a staunch defender of science. For questioning the claims that chiropractic can effectively treat some childhood conditions, in an article in The Guardian (“Beware the spinal trap,” 2008 Apr 9), Dr Singh was sued for libel under Britain’s antiquated law by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). After Dr Singh won the right to present a defense of fair comment, the BCA withdrew their suit on 15 April 2010. Dr Singh became a cause celebre for a growing movement to modernise British libel laws, which tend to chill free speech and serve to protect “alternative medicine” practitioners from critical analysis. A British organization that promotes the public understanding of science, Sense About Science, has launched a campaign to publicize Dr Singh’s plight and to liberalize those laws.

In 1990, he joined the BBC’s Science Department where he produced programs such as Tomorrow’s World and directed the Horizon award-winning documentary “Fermat’s Last Theorem” and more recently, Dr Singh has also turned to radio and freelance writing. He has authored Fermat’s Last Theorem (re-titled Fermat’s Enigma in America), The Code Book, and Big Bang. He joined with Edzard Ernst, MD, to publish Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial in 2008 (see below).

Dr Singh earned a PhD in experimental particle physics from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and spent two years at CERN in Geneva. He is the maiden winner of the Lilavati Award by the International Congress of Mathematicians (2010).

Selected Writing:

Selected Book:

book cover
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine, with Edzard Ernst (W.W. Norton, 2008). Whether you are an ardent believer in alternative medicine, a skeptic, or are simply baffled by the range of services and opinions, this groundbreaking analysis lays to rest doubts and contradictions with authority, integrity, and clarity. Over thirty of the most popular treatments-including acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic, and herbal medicines-are examined for their benefits and potential dangers. What works and what doesn't? Who can you trust, and who is ripping you off? In its scrutiny of alternative and complementary cures, this book also strives to reassert the primacy of the scientific method as a means for determining public health practice and policy.

In the News

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Selected Podcasts:

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Interview, by SP Novella, podcast, 2009 Jun 3.

Selected Video Appearances:

  • See You In Court: Simon Singh vs The BCA (1/2)

  • See You In Court: Simon Singh vs The BCA (2/2)

  • “Alternative Medicine — do the benefits match the claims?” Alchemist Cafe, Dublin, 2008 Nov.

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