The environmentalist explains why he wishes it was possible to visit William Tyndale—and how the US government seized one of his inventionsby Prospect Team / December 10, 2019 / Leave a comment
What is the first news event you can recall?
The British Empire exhibition in Wembley in 1924. I was taken there by my family by train from Letchworth Garden City where I lived as a child.
What is the biggest problem of all?
Having reached 100 years, what do I do next?
If you could spend a day in one place at one moment in history, when and where would that be?
I would like to visit William Tyndale during his last days in prison. I know more than most about the pain of burning and would like to know how he anticipated his ordeal.
What is your favourite quotation?
I cannot think of a favourite quotation.
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I would not accept the offer and would return the money to the donor.
What do you most regret?
I most regret not having met Sandy my wife sooner. It might then have been possible to risk leaving successors.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was surprised to learn, and so might others be, to hear that I might have Inuit ancestry.
Who do you look up to the most?
I have no role model.
Are you proud of your country?
I used to be, now I am not so sure. I have lived 10 years total in the United States, so I know that rival country very well. I think that, morally, we have still much to be proud of. Over the thousand years of our evolution, we have grown less greedy than the other great powers. I wonder how many of your readers know that we had to pay patent royalties to America for many of our inventions, among them penicillin. My own invention, the electron capture detector (ECD) was seized by the American government.
Is humanity doomed?
If you believe in Darwin as I do, all species are doomed. They are obliged to evolve and change. We like to think it will be a change for the better, but who can be sure of this?
What one thing have you changed your mind about?
I have changed my mind so many times that it has become a frequent event.
Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence, by James Lovelock (Allen Lane, £14.99)