Science in Society Archive

Brief biographies

Edward Cowie is an internationally renowned composer, described in The Sunday Times as “one of the most original and dazzling musical minds of our time.” His music has been featured in major festivals all over the world including four times at the BBC Promenade Concerts. He has also conducted orchestras and ensembles in five countries. As a pianist, he has recorded for the BBC, ABCFM and German Radio.

Cowie was the first Artist in Residence with the Royal Society For the Protection of Birds between 2002-2005 and during the same period, was appointed the inaugural Composer in Association with the BBC Singers in London.

Originally trained as a physicist (including a substantial part of his PhD), Cowie also studied painting at The Slade in London as an external student. He has a doctorate in Music and has held professorial appointments in the USA, Germany, Australia and the UK.

Cowie’s music is exclusively published by United Music Publishers in London. He has had more than 30 one-man shows in galleries in Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the United States.  Always in demand as a public speaker, he has given The Gertrude Langer Memorial Lectures in Australia, and The Ruskin Lecture at Oxford. See his works at

Heather Cowie:  My life has always been connected to the earth; the things that shape and move it - visible and invisible. I originally trained as a geologist and worked in many wild places in Australia and South Africa before pursuing serious visual arts experimentation in the mid 80s. I returned to university in 1992 to study for a Masters of Creative Arts degree, specialising in the transformation of music and birdsong into a visual language. By this time I was exhibiting widely in Australia in both one-person and group shows.

I moved to England, with my composer-husband, in 1995 and settled in Devon. Here the vast expanses of moorland, with its complex layers and marks of history (both geological as well as ancient human), infiltrated my sensibility and becamethe generator of a large body of work which culminated in three soloexhibitions and 11 group shows. I now have a studio in South-west France, where the adventures with the 'organics' of creation continue.....

My artwork is embedded in the natural world. I am moved and inspired not only by the visual beauty and wonder of the forms which surround me but also by the dynamics of the processes through which these forms have developed. Fundamental to much of my work is an exploration of time and what happens through time.

Peter Fisher FRCP, FFHom is Clinical Director and Director of Research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, part of the University College London Hospitals NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust and Europe’s largest public sector centre for integrated medicine.   A  Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and of the Faculty of Homeopathy, he is a specialist in both homeopathy and rheumatology.  

Fisher is also Clinical Lead of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) NHS Evidence - complementary and alternative medicine ( He heads the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Library and Information Service CAMLIS,, which provides unique access to the CAM literature, and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Homeopathy (, published by Elsevier. He is a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional and Complementary Medicine, and awarded the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal of the Polish Academy of Medicine in 2007. He is Physician to HM The Queen. 

Fisher’s clinical service provides treatment for arthritis and rheumatism, integrating conventional and complementary approaches including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, diet and nutrition, autogenic training (a form of stress management therapy) among others. Referrals to his clinic can be made through the UK NHS ‘Choose & Book’ electronic system.

Fisher has conducted numerous research projects in complementary medicine; his interest in the subject aroused by a visit to China during the Cultural Revolution while still a medical student at Cambridge University. 

Kathy Haffegee is a semi-professional textile and mixed-media artist whose journey of exploration began when she retired in 2000 and rediscovered her childhood love of art and sewing. She developed an interest in patchwork and quilting and progressed to experiment with embellishing her quilts with hand and free machine embroidery.

Her journey led her into painting on silk, manipulation and dyeing of fabric, paper and fabric collage, computer printing and recently the use of gesso, distress and alcohol inks and bleach. Her inspiration has been fired by her love of nature and plant forms and the work of contemporary fibre artists such as Gilda Baron, Margaret Beal, Viv Dunscombe and Maggie Grey.

Kathy has a City and Guilds qualification in creative embroidery and has been showing and selling her work and leading workshops in the Milton Keynes area for the last 10 years. She is a member of the Stacey Hill Stitchers, a group which meets in and supports the local Museum of Agriculture and Industry. The group’s activities include making historic costumes and samplers, fund-raising and teaching local children how to embroider.

Another passion is her involvement in an International internet Mail Art Group which trades fibre art items such as Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), fabric postcards, inchies, mixed media books etc.

Kathy was born in Essex and initially trained as a nurse at Hammersmith Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital. She then worked as a Health Visitor and tutor for 25 years. She now lives in Milton Keynes and when not busy with her craft she enjoys walking, cooking, gardening and spending time with her family of husband, sons and daughter and grandchildren.

Jade Ho was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and became a passionate painter at the age of two, revealing an unusual sense for colour and style that extends to her daily dress. Her paintings have attracted the devoted following of parents and grandparents and appeared in Science in Society, and the cover of the important Green Energies report. She attends Kenwood elementary School, likes singing, plays the piano, and is a blue belt in Kungfu.

Jasmine Howas born in Los Angeles, California, and now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her mother, father, younger sister and fellow artist Jade, and her pet dog and cat. She attended Kenwood Elementary School, South View Middle School, and is in her sophomore year in Edina High School, where she is involved in a school leadership group, a cultural awareness group, and the debate club.

Jasmine started painting and drawing when she was three years old, when her favourite subject was gardens and raindrops. They have been featured in many issues of Science in Society, including the cover of two issues. Jasmine’s current interests include soccer, track and field (running), reading, ceramics, and sketching.She does not have a specific career in mind, but does plan on pursuing a college education.

Mae-Wan Ho, B.Sc. (First Class) and Ph. D. Biochemistry, Hong Kong University, is best known for pioneering work on the physics of organisms and sustainable systems; also a critic of genetic engineering biotechnology and neo-Darwinism. She is Director and co-founder of the Institute of Science in Society, and Editor-in-Chief and Art Director of its trend-setting quarterly magazine Science in Society. She has received several awards and recognition for promoting scientific integrity and accountability.

Regarded by some as “the most influential scientist alive today,” her work not only informs the public and policy-makers, but is also appreciated by other scientists as well as those trained in arts and the humanities, being herself an occasional artist and poet.  Mae-Wan advises national government as well as United Nations agencies on a range of issues from genetic modification to sustainable agriculture and renewables energies, and was even asked by the late Malcolm McClaren to be his scientific adviser when he briefly considered running for the Major of London.

She is much in demand as a public speaker, and continues to contribute to scientific research since retiring from academia in 2000. She has more than 170 scientific publications and over 500 popular articles in the most diverse fields across all scientific disciplines. Her books include Beyond neoDarwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm (1984); Evolutionary Processes and Metaphors (1988); The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms (1993, 2nd ed.1998, reprinted 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005; 2006, 3rd ed, 2008); Bioelectrodynamics and Biocommunication (1994), Bioenergetics (1995); Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? (1998, 1999, reprint with extended introduction, 2007); Living with the Fluid Genome (2003); The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World (2003, 2004); Unravelling AIDS (2005); Which Energy? (2006); Food Futures Now (2008); Green Energies, 100% Renewables by 2050 (2009).

Michel Kappeli was raised in an urban environment. After art school in Switzerland and years of travel, he stayed in a remote place in Finland, where his fascination for transformation in nature became the focus of his artistic concepts. His first-prize-winning project in a national art-on-building competition featured the environment in the structure of the building.

Back in Switzerland, he infused the urban with structures of nature. With materials such as silicone and PVC, he built organic structures. Even for printing, by tradition an extremely exact way to create replicas, he created soft printing blocks of silicone to achieve different results from print to print.

Time as a guide-line for transformation appeared in his first works of manipulated urban sounds. The original sound of a scene was gradually decelerated; the perceiver led from a known environment to a transformed circumstance, where the now slowed, alienated sounds were received as intensified images created by ones’ own memory.

At the exhibition in a neo-Gothic church, organized by the famous gallery owner Diego Stampa, the Director of the Basle Art Hall Peter Pakesch and the priest Felix Felix, the concept of transformation of Michel Kappeli’s former soundscapes was adapted to a corridor of twelve three-dimensional 17-foot tall pictures made of sculpted heavy plastic sheets. Starting from a human figure, the development from one image to the next, led from a surface zoomed more and more into detail, until it reached the structure of a microscopic world.

What was divided into sequences of evolution in his sculptural “paintings” was later compressed to layers of painted transparency film, and combined into single three-dimensional pictures.

The different conditions of presence found a new intensity in his light performances, which he painted with a coloured torchlight in a darkened room. The sound of a decelerated everyday scene was the guide-line for the evolution of the image. The sum of all the movements of light was captured on the film of a camera with a constantly open shutter. The final image captured by another camera on Polaroid was then shown to the public.

The experiments with light and sound led also to performative sculpting and combinations of words and pictorial metaphor.

What were artistic concepts of deceleration and transformed visions suddenly found their parallel in his own experience of a road accident. The intensity of crossing a borderline between different conditions of consciousness resulted in a new artistic focus on uncharted spaces beyond known surfaces.

Water as one of the most important elements became his new field of experiments – with stunning results. His vision could be titled: Crossing the Threshold.

Michel Kappeli has won several prizes. His works are found in many public buildings and collections. The first presentation in a museum exhibition was at Museum Tinguely in Basle, Switzerland. He now lives in a remote village in France. He is member of the French artist assosiation Maison des Artistes.

Michael Meacher MP was educated at Berkhamstead School, New College Oxford and the London School of Economics in the UK. He joined the Labour Party in 1962, and has been Labour Member of Parliament for Oldham West (now Oldham West and Royton) since 1970. In a long and distinguished political career that included Under Secretary for Industry, 1974-75, Under Secretary for Health and Social Security, 1975-79, Member of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1983-89, Member of Shadow Cabinet 1983-1997, Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on: Health and Social Security 1983-87, Employment 1987-89, Social Security 1989-92, Overseas Development and Co-operation 1992-93, Citizen’s Charter and Science 1993-94, Meacher is best-known and best-loved as Minister of State for the Environment and Privy Counsellor May 1997 – June 2003. He played a pivotal role in securing the international Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on the regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and has insisted on independent scientific evidence on safety of GMOs ever since

Meacher has been a friend and patron of ISIS since its founding in 1999. He is currently a Parliamentary representative and member of UNISON. His other affiliations are the Fabian Society, SERA and the Child Poverty Action Group. He is author of Destination of the Species: The Riddle of Human Existence (O Books, 2010).

Jim Oschman is a pioneer in ‘energy medicine’, which aims to provide a Western scientific basis for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). He has both the academic credentials and the background in CAM for this important task, having published 26 full-length scientific papers in leading academic journals and 50 articles in CAM journals. 

Oschman has lectured widely on the energetic processes taking place in the therapeutic situation. He has developed many scientific insights that can help therapists from every tradition understand and advance their work and explain it to others. His ground-breaking series of articles on "healing energy" published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies have been developed into a book, Energy Medicine: the scientific basis (Harcourt Brace/Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 2000). This book gives the most sceptical academic scientists and medical researchers a theoretical and practical basis for exploring the physiology and biophysics of energy medicines. A second book, Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance, was published in 2003 by Harcourt Health Sciences/Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.

Oschman has degrees in Biophysics and Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, and has worked in major research labs around the world, including Cambridge University UK; Case-Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio, USA;  the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA, where he was on the faculty; and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, where he was a staff scientist.

To learn about the theories and practices underlying CAM, Oschman has both attended classes and presented workshops at various schools around the world, and experienced a wide range of bodywork techniques. This has brought Jim several distinctions, including the Presidency of the New England School of Acupuncture, a Distinguished Service Award from the Rolf Institute, the Founders Award from the National Foundation for Alternative Medicine, Presidency of the International Society for Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, and a Career Honour from the Second International Fascia Research Congress held in Amsterdam in October 2009.

Oschman continues his research and writing in Dover, New Hampshire, where he is President of Nature's Own Research Association.A much sought-after public speaker, Oschman has lectured and presented workshops in more than 20 countries and in dozens of cities in the USA. He has also become involved in the development and testing of cutting-edge medical devices and other applications of energy medicine.

Li Poon was born and brought up in Hong Kong where he began oil painting as a teenager for commercial galleries before winning a competition in Chinese painting. He graduated with a first class degree in Applied Physics and Information Science from University of California, San Diego in the United States, and started a Ph. D. in engineering. But his artistic impulse soon took over and he became a serious artist instead. He settled in Toronto, Canada, and began innovating in multiple media and artistic traditions, fusing traditional Chinese, European, and meso-American in unpredictable ‘free and floating’ ways.

Li Poon has produced paintings in at least 5 or 6 different styles over a period of some 40 years. His later works have appeared frequently both on and inside the covers of Science in Society, and much admired for their “shamanistic” qualities, appealing especially to other artists as well as scientists.

Matt Poon grew up in Hong Kong, pursued his Engineering studies in Canada, and subsequently settled in Australia. He rediscovered his childhood passion for painting four years ago when he was lucky enough to be tutored by the late Wenda Ashton of the renowned Ashton family. He experiments with watercolour and charcoal, painting a wide range of subjects including land and seascapes, human figures, wild animals and pets. He has already exhibited widely in Australia and won several prizes including the Peoples’ Choice Awards of DeeWhy Art & Craft Show four years in a row, 2007-2010. Many of his paintings have a distinctive poetic quality reminiscent of contemporary Japanese water colours.

At about the same time that he took up painting, Matt took some lessons in Tai Chi; and says it would make him really happy if he can integrate the Tai Chi movements into his art works.

Alex Smith is Managing Director of Alara Wholefoods Ltd., which he founded more than 30 years ago. Alex has an abiding passion for the planet and sustainability, and over the years, has become renowned for his efforts. He was made a London Leader of Sustainability in 2009; and along with other high profile business leaders, was given the task of helping promote sustainable practices throughout London to businesses and the public. Alex gives lectures around the country on sustainability and has won a whole host of awards for Alara, including Green Business of the Year at the Fast Growth Business Awards, Small Company of the Year at the Food Manufacturer and Excellence Awards (for Alara’s commitment to environmental principals) and the Food and Drink Federations’ Community Partnership Award (for Alara’s partnership with numerous community gardens).

Alara has pioneered a sustainable path for the food industry by becoming the first food company in the UK to become zero waste, everything from their site is recycled or reused. It was also the first cereal company in the world to be certified organic, the first to be licensed for gluten-free production and the first to make Fairtrade mueslis. Currently Alex is behind a scheme to bring the first small scale community anaerobic digester to Kings Cross to help generate green energy for the company and local community.

Julian Voss-Andreae is a German-born sculptor based in Portland, Oregon. Starting out as a painter he changed course and studied physics at the universities of Berlin, Edinburgh and Vienna. He pursued his graduate research in quantum physics, participating in a seminal experiment demonstrating quantum behaviour for the largest objects thus far. He moved to the US in 2000 with his passion for art rekindled, and graduated from Art College in 2004.

Voss-Andreae’s work is heavily influenced by his background in science, and has quickly gained critical attention from multiple institutions and collectors in the US and abroad, including recent commissions for a large-scale outdoor piece for the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter (Fla.) and a sculpture for Nobel laureate Roderick MacKinnon at Rockefeller University in New York City. Voss-Andreae’s work has been featured in several publications, including Nature and Science, the world’s leading science journals.

Article first published 09/05/11

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