Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations BMJ Confidential

Ben Goldacre: A great time to be alive

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 06 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l851
Duncan Smith


Ben Goldacre, 44, is a senior clinical research fellow at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences in Oxford. He is a doctor, academic, and science writer whose book Bad Science (2008) propelled him to international fame, selling 500 000 copies in the UK alone. A champion of open data, he is a founder of the AllTrials campaign to reform medical evidence by making clinical trials transparent and accessible. He qualified at Oxford and University College London Medical School and specialised as a psychiatrist before training in epidemiology. He runs in Oxford—a mixed team of engineers, clinicians, and researchers building practical tools to improve the use of data in medicine.

What was your earliest ambition?

I’ve copied my parents without considering any other options: my dad’s an epidemiologist, and my mum’s a stage performer. Good family role models are a privilege—and a bigger leg-up than money.

If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?

Entertain my children.

What TV programmes do you enjoy?

I’m not sure that I think of it as TV any more, in the sense of a big mast controlled by a TV executive. You can pay for Grey Gardens, torrent some 1980s Adam Curtis, and watch Chinese teenagers copy David Byrne’s dancing at the end of Stop Making Sense on YouTube. All while doing emails …

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