Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s foremost evolutionary biologists. Sometimes known as “Darwin’s Rottweiler”, he came to prominence in 1976 with the publication of his first book, The Selfish Gene, whose “gene’s-eye-view” of life upended traditional ideas of evolution and changed the way scientists have approached the subject ever since. This was followed by a number of other books which - unusually for scientific works – have also been widely read and acclaimed by academics and the public alike: "The Extended Phenotype", "The Blind Watchmaker", "River out of Eden", "Climbing Mount Improbable", "Unweaving the Rainbow", "A Devil’s Chaplain" and "The Ancestor’s Tale".
Throughout his books his sense of awe, wonder and delight at the marvels of the universe and its workings shines through, and his enthusiasm for science, combined with a remarkable ability to express complex scientific ideas in clear, elegant English, has been responsible for overcoming many people's fear of the subject.
It was this combination of leading-edge scientific expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and unrivalled ability to communicate scientific knowledge that led to the creation, specifically for him, of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford
It is for his latest book, however, that Richard Dawkins is best and most controversially known. "The God Delusion" was published in 2006 and has been in the bestseller lists constantly since then, having now sold over 1,500,000 copies in English alone and been translated into 31 languages. In it he challenges the existence of God and the desirability of religion from a wide range of angles, including biology, cosmology and morality, and argues with his customary passion that the truth or otherwise of the existence of a creator god is a profoundly scientific question.