Professor Steve Jones,
University College London
Without variation there could be no genetics and no evolution so why is it there? Perhaps surprisingly we have no real idea; and I have spent many years studying the ecological genetics of snails, fruitflies and humans in an attempt to understand this issue. Certain snails are very diverse in their shell characters, and I have collected hundreds of thousands of specimens from all over Europe in an attempt to find out why. I have also worked on fruit flies in variable environments, both in the wild and in the laboratory. At the moment I am particularly involved in looking at the interaction of thermal ecology and genetics in snails and in Drosophila.
I have for several years been involved with the media, largely in presenting scientific work but also in a more general context. I have appeared on BBC Radio on more than two hundred occasions. I gave the 1991 Reith Lectures on "The Language of the Genes" and have since then written and presented a long-running Radio 3 series on science, "Blue Skies", and a six-part TV series on human genetics, "In the Blood"; broadcast in 1996. I have also appeared in various other TV programmes, from Question Time to Late Review to Newsnight. In addition I have written extensively in the press on scientific issues and have a regular column in The Daily Telegraph - "View from the Lab".
I have given large numbers of named lectures, and frequently visit and speak at schools and schools conferences. I have, I estimate, spoken directly to more than 100 000 school pupils during my career and am UCL’s representative on the recently-established London Regional Science Centre, which aims to provide in-career training to science teachers.