Burdon, Roy H(unter) 1938–

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Burdon, Roy H(unter) 1938–

(R. H. Burdon)

PERSONAL: Born April 27, 1938, in Glasgow, Scotland; son of Ian (a surgeon) and Rose (a nurse; maiden name, Hunter) Burdon; married Margery Kellock (a director), September 4, 1962; children: Ian, Keith. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of St. Andrews, B.Sc. (with honors), 1959; University of Glasgow, Ph.D., 1962. Politics: "Floating voter!" Religion: Church of Scotland. Hobbies and other inter-ests: Clarinetist and saxophonist with bands and orchestras, semiprofessional artist, performer in one-person shows.

ADDRESSES: Home—144 Mugdock Rd., Milngavie G62 8NP, Scotland. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, assistant lecturer, 1959–62, lecturer, 1964–68, senior lecturer, 1968–74, reader, 1974–77, professor of biochemistry, 1977–85; New York University, New York, NY, research fellow, 1963–64; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, professor of molecular biology, 1985–97, professor emeritus, 1997–, chair of department of bioscience and biotechnology, 1986–88. Polytechnical University of Denmark, professor of microbiology, 1977–78; West of Scotland Agricultural College, governor, 1986–94. British Coordinating Committee for Biotechnology, chair, 1991–93; European Federation for Biotechnology, chair of scientific advisory committee.

MEMBER: Biochemical Society (chair, 1989–92), British Royal Society of Arts (fellow), Institute of Biology (fellow), Royal Society of Edinburgh (fellow).


(Under name R. H. Burdon) RNA Biosynthesis, Halstead Press (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Roger L. P. Adams) Molecular Biology of DNA Methylation, Springer-Verlag (New York, NY), 1985.

(Editor, with Catherine A. Rice-Evans) Free Radical Damage and Its Control, Elsevier (New York, NY), 1994.

Genes and the Environment, Taylor & Francis (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.

(Under name Roy Burdon) The Suffering Gene: Environmental Threats to Our Health, Zed Books (New York, NY), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: DNA and Planetary Stewardship and Interface: The Relevance of Art to Science and Science to Art.

SIDELIGHTS: Roy H. Burdon told CA: "A number of my earlier books have concerned specific academic aspects of biochemistry and molecular genetics.

However, my most recent book, The Suffering Gene: Environmental Threats to Our Health, is a deliberate attempt to come away from the cutting edge of science and to present some of the major environmental issues that affect our health, not only from a very broad perspective, but also in a way that would be readily intelligible to the lay person. In part this has been prompted by the observation that much misinformation and many half-baked hypotheses regularly peddled in newspapers and popular health magazines are quite confusing. I aim, in simple language, to deal with environmental issues and how these impact our genes and our health, both in the short and long term. Particularly important is my attempt to put over as honestly as possible the variety of 'detox' systems that our bodies already have without recourse to any additional 'over-the-counter' potions and lotions. Hopefully readers of The Suffering Gene may come away with a more truthful and balanced view of these important contemporary issues that will allow more informed choices.

"In terms of future writing, one objective will be to demystify science. There is a gaping chasm between the scientific knowledge that the cognoscenti assume is commonplace and the real state of affairs. This is not just the case for millions of intelligent adults, but for politicians and other decision-makers who clutch the national purse strings.

"Another recent objective is encompassed in my second book in preparation, Interface: The Relevance of Art to Science and Science to Art, which seeks to bridge the commonly perceived divide between art and the sciences. As a professional scientist and a fairly successful practicing artist, I feel that I have a unique opportunity to contribute to this issue. The book is intended to explore the influences of science and technology on art, mainly from a scientist's standpoint. Artists' interest in science is a fairly long established tradition, notably explored in the fifteenth century by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and continued by the impressionists, cubists, futurists, surrealists, op-artists, et cetera, in more modern times. We have the opportunity at the start of the twenty-first century to see how scientific discoveries, new technologies, and media will impact the creativity of contemporary artists. I hope that the book will raise many questions as well as provide answers regarding the relevance of art to science and science to art as well as widening our ideas about this ongoing relationship."

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Burdon, Roy H(unter) 1938–

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