Robert Winston

Robert Winston

Infobox Politician
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Professor The Lord Winston
honorific-suffix =
FRCP FRCOG FRCS (Edin.) FRCPS (Glas.) FIBiol FMedSci FREng (Hon.) FRSA

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birth_date = Birth date and age|1940|07|15|df=y
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nationality = British
party = Labour
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alma_mater = The London Hospital Medical College, University of London
occupation = surgeon, scientist, television presenter and politician
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Robert Maurice Lipson Winston, Baron Winston FRCP FRCOG (born 15 July 1940) is a British medical doctor, scientist, politician, and television presenter.

Life and career

Winston was born in London to Laurence Winston and Ruth Winston-Fox. His mother was Mayor of the former Borough of Southgate, now absorbed into the London Borough of Enfield in 1961. Winston's polymath father died as a result of medical negligence when Winston was nine years old, which was partly the inspiration for his eventual career choice. [ Robert Winston:'I do have a very dark side'] , "The Daily Telegraph", 15 August 2008]

Medical career

He attended St Paul's School (London), later graduating from The London Hospital Medical College, University of London, in 1964 with a degree in medicine and achieved prominence as an expert in human fertility. For a brief time he gave up clinical medicine and worked as a theatre director, winning the National Directors' Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1969. [ University Chancellor Professor the Lord Winston] Sheffield Hallam University] On returning to academic medicine, he developed tubal microsurgery and various techniques in reproductive surgery, including sterilization reversal.

Having joined Hammersmith Hospital as a registrar in 1970, he was appointed to a Wellcome Research Fellowship and then as Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) in 1975. He was a scientific advisor to the World Health Organisation's programme in human reproduction from 1975 to 1977. He joined The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London as consultant and Reader in 1977.

After conducting research as Professor of Gynaecology at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1980, he returned to the UK setting up the highly successful IVF service at Hammersmith Hospital which pioneered various improvements in this technology, and became Dean of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in London until its entry into Imperial College in 1997. As Professor of Fertility Studies at Hammersmith, Winston led the IVF team which pioneered preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which identifies defects in human embryos.

He was the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science from 2004 to 2005. Together with Carol Readhead from the California Institute of Technology he is currently researching male germ cell stem cells and methods for their genetic modification at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College London. He has published over 300 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. He was recently appointed as a new chair at Imperial College, Professor of Science and Society. He is Chairman of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Trust and as such, chairs the Women-for-Women Appeal charity.

Lord Winston is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (HonFREng) and Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG), and of the Royal College of Physicians of London (FRCP), and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS Edin), Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (FRCPS Glasg), and the Instititute of Biology (FIBiol). He holds honorary doctorates from fourteen universities. He is a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council where he chairs the Societal Issues Panel, and patron of The Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Lord Winston holds strong views about the commercialisation of fertility treatment, something he has never been involved in, having moved into research while at Hammersmith as opposed to going into private practice. He suggests that often less effective treatments are used, so that the patients will return and pay for repeat treaments when it fails. He claims the BBC did not wish this issue to be brought up when he was making "Child Against All Odds". He also holds slightly unconventional views on the effectiveness of screening for conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Media roles

Winston is well-known for presenting many BBC television series, including "Superhuman", "The Secret Life of Twins", "Child of Our Time", "Human Instinct", and the BAFTA award-winner "The Human Body". A traditional Jew with an orthodox background, [ [ Epiphanies: Lord Robert Winston] "The Spirit of Things", ABC National Radio, Australia, 4 June 2006] he also presented "The Story of God", exploring the development of religious beliefs and the status of faith in a scientific age. He also presented the BBC documentary "Walking with Cavemen" a major BBC series which, although it presented some controversial views about early man, was endorsed by a number of leading anthropologists and other scientists. One arguable theory which the series presented was that "Homo sapiens" have a uniquely developed imagination which helped them to survive. His documentary film Threads of Life won the international science film prize in Paris, in 2005. His recent BBC series "Child Against All Odds" studied the ethical questions which are raised by the practice of IVF treatment; the accompanying book is a wide-ranging discussion of the history and implications of reproductive engineering. In 2008, he presented "Super Doctors", about decisions made every day in frontier medicine.

In 2007, Lord Winston appeared in the TV series "Play It Again", in which he attempted to learn to play the saxophone, despite not having played a musical instrument since the age of 11, when he learned the recorder. [ [ Play It Again: Robert Winston takes up the saxophone] , BBC]

Among many BBC Radio 4 programmes, he has appeared on "The Archers" radio soap as a fertility consultant, though not as himself.


Winston was made a life peer in 1995 as Baron Winston, of Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. He sits on the Labour Party benches in the House of Lords and takes the government whip. He speaks regularly in the House of Lords on education, science, medicine and the arts. He was recently Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology and is a board member and Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Personal life

In 1973, Winston married Lira Helen Feigenbaum. They have three children. As well as continuing to practice the saxophone and clarinet, Lord Winston also enjoys skiing. He is involved with several charities, being a council member of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of The Athenaeum Club in London.

Lord Winston is quite a private person, and only gives interiews to the press rather reluctantly. He says he will not write an autobiography, saying, "I couldn't afford to be truthful. All of us have a very dark side, so it would have to be superficial."

Current posts

*Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London
*Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University (since 2001)
*Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies, Imperial College London
*Past Director of NHS Research and Development, Hammersmith Hospitals Trust
*Chairman, Royal College of Music Council


*Cedric Carter Medal, Clinical Genetics Society, 1993
*Victor Bonney Medal for contributions to surgery, Royal College of Surgeons, 1993
*Gold Medallist, Royal Society of Health, 1998
*Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), 1998
*British Medical Association Gold Award for Medicine in the Media, 1999
*Michael Faraday Prize, Royal Society, 1999
* Edwin Stevens Medal (the Royal Society of Medicine) 2003
*Aventis Prize, Royal Society 2004
*Al-Hammadi Medal, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2005
*Fourteen honorary doctorates

Television documentaries (as presenter)

* "Your Life in their Hands", BBC 1979-1987
* "Making Babies", BBC 1995
* "The Human Body", BBC, which went by the name, "Intimate Universe: The Human Body" in the United States, BBC 1998. The series won three BAFTA Awards.
* "The Secret Life of Twins", BBC 1999
* "Child of Our Time", following the lives of a group of children, all born in 2000, as they grow to the age of 20; BBC 2000-present
* "Superhuman", BBC 2001 (won the Wellcome Trust Award for Medicine and Biology)
* "Walking with Cavemen", BBC 2003
* "Human Instinct (Documentary)", BBC 2002 Emmy nomination
* "The Human Mind", BBC 2003
* "Threads of Life", about DNA, BBC 2003 (won the international Science Prize in Paris)
* "How to sleep better"
* "The Story of God", BBC 2005
* "How to Improve Your Memory" BBC 2006
* "A Child Against All Odds" BBC 2006
* "Super Doctors BBC 2008Robert Winston won the VLV Award for the most outstanding personal contribution to British television in 2004

elected bibliography

*"Reversibility of Sterilization" (1978)
*Co-author "Tubal Infertility" (1981)
*"Infertility - a sympathetic approach" (1985)
*"Getting Pregnant" (1989)
*"Making Babies" (1996)
*"The IVF Revolution" (1999)
*"Superhuman" (2000)
*"Human Instinct" (2003)
*"The Human Mind" (2004). Nominated for Royal Society Aventis Prize
*"What Makes Me Me" (2005) Royal Society Aventis Prize
*"Human" (2005) BMA Award for best popular medicine book
*"The Story of God" (2005)
*"Body" (2005)
*"A Child Against All Odds" (2006)
*"Play It Again" (2007)
*"It's Elementary" (2007)
* [ "When science meets God"] , Robert Winston, BBC News, Friday, 2 December 2005.
* [,,1590776,00.html "Why do we believe in God?"] , Robert Winston, The Guardian, Thursday October 13, 2005

tyles and Honours

* Mr Robert Winston (1940–1964)
* Dr Robert Winston (1964–1980)
* Prof. Robert Winston (1980–)
* Prof. The Lord Winston (1995–)

Lord Winston tends to be known as Prof. Robert Winston, most likely due to his association with the scientific community and his continued research and television programmes related to scientific studies.



External links

* [ Official Site of Professor Robert Winston]
*imdb name|id=0935629
* [ Professor the Lord Winston]
* [ University Chancellor – Sheffield Hallam University]
* [ President of the BA, Biography at the British Association]
* [,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Update&WBCMODE=PresentationUnpublished Another biography at the BA]
* [ Age of the Sage: Robert Winston]

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