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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Simonyi Professor Won't Assault Religion

This week, Marcus du Sautoy, a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, took over as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science—the post previously held by Richard Dawkins. But Sautoy, who like Dawkins is an atheist, tells New Scientist magazine that he plans to be less controversial and again says he will not be launching his own attack on religion. "I think it's important for me to go in a new direction," he says. "Also, the joy of being Simonyi professor is that you can choose what you want to put your energy into. For me there are so many things to talk about in science: why it's exciting, entertaining and how it impacts on society. We have to make decisions about important scientific issues, and unless members of society are informed about them they'll be unable to get involved in that debate." —Heather Wax