Peter Thompson is a Berkshire-based researcher and science writer. He edits The Lay Scientist, a website giving an overview of science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics.
Peter Thompson graduated from the University of Chicago where he was under the tutelage of Lars Peter Hansen (The David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Research Director of the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics); Arnold C. Harberger (The Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics) and James J. Heckman (Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics) and many more lecturers.
His passion for science
Peter Thompson’s passion for science began in his early teenage years. He wanted to understand his own and others’ places in society and where they could be, not just locally but globally. Since then has followed current affairs with interest. This led him exploring further the causes and effects of human interactions through the study of economics and politics. The explanations and predictions, as well as more universal theories that underlie human behaviour, offered insight into the validity of the various competing political choices. His overviews are published in The Lay Scientist.
How did he become researcher and science writer?
At college Peter Thompson was keen to delve deeper and studied up to PhD level with research into developing business angel investment in the US. Economic research in the UK had already shown stimulating business angel investment was worth millions of dollars in the UK, ensuring government support for this key source of entrepreneurial finance.
Science writers, like all other journalists, have an insatiable appetite for reading and Peter Thompson has been endowed with a memory like a filing cabinet which helps. To that is added a child-like curiosity about the world around him and how it works. A self-taught writer, Thompson has always liked science writing and the ability to write science overviews in a way that the general public can understand. This lead to the first edition of The Lay Scientist.
Why science is an important part of investing theories, finances and the economy
Peter Thompson believes that science is the engine of prosperity, which is why he launched The Lay Scientist. There is a tremendous opportunity to be realized in financial services from acknowledging the importance of data as an asset and the deployment of sophisticated analysis to realize the benefits of that asset.
Scientific theories need to be studied and understood since these can have impacts in the future that we can only dream of today. Einstein wasn’t thinking about GPS when he formulated his theory of relativity a hundred years ago, but knowing space-time theory allows the accurate measurement of orbiting GPS satellites.
The purpose of the website
Peter Thompson sees himself as a science journalist, capable of reading a scientific paper and being able to venture a decent opinion overview, to do the story justice. This is the gap in the mainstream science reporting market that Thompson fills in The Lay Scientist without ‘dumbing-down’.