Observations BMJ Confidential

Edzard Ernst: Guiltiest pleasure is research

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2630 (Published 20 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2630

Biography

Edzard Ernst is a champion of clear thinking in the often murky waters of alternative medicine. As Britain’s first professor of the subject at Exeter, he investigated claims made by its practitioners and found many to be devoid of supporting evidence. He was productive and highly visible and became a bit of an embarrassment to a craven university administration when he took on the Prince of Wales. He was frozen out, as he explains in his book A Scientist in Wonderland (subtitled A Memoir of Searching for Truth and Finding Trouble). Despite it all he, a German by birth, remains a phlegmatic Anglophile.

What was your earliest ambition?

As a young man I wanted to become a jazz musician. I practised enthusiastically—first on the clarinet, then on the drums—and if it had not been for my mother I might have ended up …

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