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Encyclopedia > Robyn Williams

Robyn Williams is an Australian science journalist and radio broadcaster who has been interviewer and host of the Science Show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation since 1975, Ockham's Razor (created 1984) and In Conversation (created 1997).



Robyn Williams was born in Wales, and educated in London and Vienna. He graduated from the University of London with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree.

During this period he was active in university acting and, like many and other notable students, made (guest) appearances in the BBC series The Goodies, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Dr Who.

Professional Life

Williams emigrated to Australia and joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Science Unit in 1972 where, after several years in background production and interviewing, in 1975 began hosting the award winning Science Show, a one-hour (format) science based radio interview show.

Ockham's Razor (15 minute format) followed in 1984, with Williams introducing a leading scientist or personality who then expounds from a prepared text on a topic of their choice, with a view to making a subject simple and accessible to the public, hence the title relating to the famous statement on parsimony by William of Ockham.

In Conversation (15 minute format) commenced in 1997, with Williams interviewing the personality.

Other media work has included:

  • narrating Nature of Australia, a series for ABC TV;
  • appearing in World Safari with David Attenborough;

At his instigation, the ABC and Australian Museum established the Eureka Awards for Excellence in Science Communication and Innovation.

Honorary and subsidiary Positions

He is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales.


Williams has written some 10 books, with 3 used in high school reading lists.

His his autobiography is And Now For Something Completely Different, a reference to an interview (on psychiatry) with Monty Python star John Cleese.


External Links

  • Robyn Williams' ABC biography (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/rwilliam.htm)
  • ABC Science Unit (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/)

  Results from FactBites:
'In Conversation' with Robyn Williams and guest Mary Sharpe | Reuniting (2384 words)
Robyn Williams: And so we turn to sex, it was dealt with compellingly in All in the Mind this week, the aspect of desire and we shall now worry about the orgasm.
Robyn Williams: Well of course all this is happening when we’re least able to control necessarily what we do because we’re being teenage and you know the hormones are flooding and burgeoning and so on.
Robyn Williams: So what you’re more or less saying is that yes, you should get plenty of practice and you don’t learn these skills unless you’re actually doing it at some informed level but don’t necessarily go in for the big hits immediately, don’t sprint to the finish every time.
Media Coverage - Friends of the Koala? (2298 words)
Robyn Williams: Yes, she seems to be quite OK in the cleft of the tree but what about those ticks, why can't she just live with them?
Robyn Williams: And we're going from a collection of very nice tall trees in the sanctuary inside a nice sort of bungalow, I suppose, into one of the places where you've got trees set up, some leaves, and there's a very sorry looking fellow, fellow is it?
Robyn Williams: And also some of those legends of course, the legends about the fact that they're so soporific as if they're eating something which kind of zonks them.
  More results at FactBites »



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