Professor Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London, is best known as the presenter behind the television series ‘Child of our Time’ and ‘The Human Body’:
These programmes investigate child development in an accessible but scientifically accurate way, showing how genes and the environment interact to create a fully formed adult. In particular, ‘Child of our Time’ has focused on 25 children born in 2000, with the intention of following these children through to the age of 20.
Lord Winston is highly skilled at making science and medicine accessible to adult and child audiences, not only through his television series, but as the author of numerous books. Lord Winston has been presenting television documentaries since the late 1970s and has a strong interest in promoting science literacy and education.
Lord Winston established the Wohl Reach Out lab at Imperial College, a programme with similar aspirations to the LENScience programme here in New Zealand.
Medical and academic career
After gaining his degree in medicine and surgery in 1964, Lord Winston came to prominence as an expert in human fertility. In the 1970s he developed gynaecological surgical techniques that improved fertility treatments and pioneered new treatments to improve in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and pre-implantation diagnosis. This allowed embryos to be screened for genetic diseases.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Institute of Biology. He is also a patron of Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development and the Liggins Institute in New Zealand.
He has published over 300 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Winston was the presenter of many BBC television series, including Superhuman, The Secret Life of Twins, Child of Our Time, Human Instinct, and The Human Body. He presented the BBC documentary Walking with Cavemen, a major BBC series that presented some controversial views about early man but was endorsed by leading anthropologists and scientists. His BBC series Child Against All Odds explored ethical questions raised by IVF treatment. In 2008, he presented Super Doctors, about decisions made every day in frontier medicine.
Lord Winston is a life peer in the House of Lords in the UK. He was Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology and a board member and Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.