Imperial College London


Central FacultyOffice of the Provost

Senior Lecturer in Science Communication



+44 (0)20 7594 8760stephen.webster CV




S312DSherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





My undergraduate degree was in zoology, my postgraduate training in philosophy of science. My PhD was on art-science collaborations, viewed particularly as a way for scientists to enrich their epistemology and their ethical reasoning. I didn’t go into higher education straightaway, but was a school science teacher for 13 years in various London schools, including being head of biology at Quintin Kynaston (at that time part of the ILEA). When I was a teacher, in the 1980s and 90s, school science had a much more questioning and critical curriculum than it does now - a feature of the ILEA system of teaching science - and it was this experience which led me into science communication.

Before coming to Imperial College I was involved in many sorts of science writing, including radio plays for the BBC, children’s books of various sorts, introductory texts to the philosophy of science, and contributing to the Guardian's weather column 'Weatherwatch'. I became co-director of the Birkbeck diploma in science communication in 1995, while teaching part-time at the King Alfred School in Hampstead. In 1999 I was appointed to a curriculum development post at Imperial College, working in many different departments, before concentrating on the work of the Science Communication Unit and the science communication Masters' courses. In 2008 I became director of the Unit, stepping down in 2023.

My research interests are in science and ethics, and in Charles Darwin.

I am currently leading The Good Science Project, a College-wide exploration of research culture, and a collaboration between the Science Communication Unit and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise). The Project - funded by Research England - organises events that give researchers the opportunity to discuss together the challenges of 'the life scientific' and to share perspectives. One example is a series of lunchtime in-person discussions, called The Friday Forums, each of which examines a particular theme - for example the relationship between scientists and technicians. In September 2023 we organised a large conference, The Day of Doubt, that examined doubt as a vital element in good science.



Lacchia AR, Webster S, 2021, La Commedia Scientifica – Dante and the scientific virtues, Geoscience Communication, Vol:4, ISSN:2569-7110, Pages:129-145


Mellor F, Webster S, 2017, The Silences of Science: Gaps and Pauses in the Communication of Science, Routledge, ISBN:978 1 4724 5997 8

Webster S, 2014, Charles Darwin, The History Press, ISBN:978 0 7524 9940 6

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