Stephan Lewandowsky 'flees' Australia in wake of investigations


Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky – screen cap from his YouTube video

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Amid complaints about the veracity and ethics of his psychological research trying to equate climate skeptics to conspiracy theory nuts and “moon landing deniers”, it seems that Professor Lewandowsky is no longer at the University of Western Australia and has moved to the UK and is practicing his craft at Bristol University, managing to convince the Royal Society to give him a grant:

Professors Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology in the School of Experimental Psychology, and Fred Manby, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the Centre for Computational Chemistry, have both been successful in securing this prestigious award from the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.


I know of at least two, possibly more, professional complaints that are in progress against Lewdandowsy (and his sidekick, Skeptical Science’ s John Cook) at the University of Western Australia for his data fabrication and his questionable science composed of outlandish made-up claims designed to smear climate skeptics worldwide.

His most recent skeptic smear paper has been taken down, pending investigation.

No announcement or reason for the move was made that I (or others) can find so far. UWA still has his page in place here and there’s a new page at Bristol University here. Neither page says anything about this move or status, and at his blog Shaping Tomorrow’s World there’s no mention of this change in his bio page. The last update was by John Cook on March 22nd.

It will be interesting to see how Lewandowsky’s furtive exit will affect UWA’s handling of the various complaints.

h/t to A. Scott and to Jo Nova who also has some thoughts here on how Bristol University and the Royal Society have now come to “own” Lewandowsky’s baggage.

UPDATE: Richard Tol provides some insight in comments. I wasn’t aware of a “mobility award” and there is nothing in the announcement he cites about it or its conditions.

Lewandowsky won a mobility award: The grant is conditional on him moving to Bristol.

There is a long lag between initial idea, grant application, and award. This has nothing to do with recent events.

So while his move may cool the complaints raised at UWA, it seems that he’s simply “following the money”.

Here’s Lewandowsky’s video:


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Paul Coppin

Oh crap – don’t push him too hard – he might come back to Canada and become a commentator for the CBC.


So sad to hear about this. His life story was great in that movie where John Goodman played him. Oops, sorry, it was Jeff Bridges.

When they run him out of the UK, where will he pop up next?

cui bono

We (the UK) don’t want him. Our newspapers are full of stories about immigrants and refugees trying to claim welfare benefits and Royal Society grants! We can’t even get rid of terrorists without ‘violating their human rights’.


oh bugger! More trash allowed into the UK?


It is difficult to see how far the Royal Society will fall. Does it have any scientific credibility left??

TImothy Sorenson

Well, it is pretty certain his Hypothesis will be: Climate skepticism is based fully in misinformation, and that he is going to track how that misinformation is processed by the media and ourselves and conclude that some outlandish mechanism, say “Devil’s Denial Hypothesis” is the basis of people accepting misinformation and believing in it.
I suspect every word he writes based for this ‘prestigious’ grant will be an attack on Climate skeptics.

Andrew Harding

Why the hell did he have to come here? Let me guess, The Royal Society (kindred spirist) and our government, anxious to throw money at anyone who can convince the general public that AGW is happening and we need to close our dirty power stations and build more windmills. The fact that the EU have told us to do these things or pay huge fines is in fact the main reason, but they don’t want the public to know that!


We don’t run terrorists out of the UK, ‘cos retribution in their home country might abuse their ‘uman rites, innit? (British joke) Lewandowsky’s safe enough.


I imagine that the Royal Society will get some feedback regarding this move. Strange that this fellow should be imported into GB at this particular time, just as he was starting to stink abominably. Does the stench have something to do with his attraction for those movers and shakers who got him into his new home with his lucrative grant?

JFA in Montreal

I wish decent science people would stop questionning global warming “scepticism” and rather call it “good science” and call the warmist’s some derogatory name.
It seems good science people have little inclination, nor talent for political game. Pity.

Phil Jourdain
Sorry to disappoint, but the UK is unlikely to run him out of town. They gave him his first break at the Guardian back in July 2012 (following a little noticed plug at Huffington Post, written by the “writer in residence” at “Psychological Science” no less, the review that finally published his article six months later). It was when the Guardian article was rerun at the government sponsored Psyops blog and publicised at BishopHill that it was ripped apart by a small band of B-Hillbillies. Meanwhile the WUWT crowd and the Aussies at JoNova’s and AustralianClimateMadness were all doing their bit.
It’s been a fascinating story with important implications about how the blogosphere can or can’t influence events in the outside world, and it isn’t over. There’s a seriousdiscussion going on elsewhere about the best way to procede – discrete protests through official channels, or calling it as you see it, which is Anthony’s tactic here. It’s a subject which has wider implications than the trivial question of Lewandowsky’s academic future.

Gary Pearse

Blimey, as soon as these unprincipled louts get far enough out, they get a prestigious award! It’s all Gleick to me.

Joe Public

Oh the irony:
The Royal Society’s motto ‘Nullius in verba’ roughly translates as ‘take nobody’s word for it’.

“Their strategy is to undermine the credibility of climatescientists.”
That is quite a conspiracy from professor Lewandowsky’s mouth.
BTW: SkepticalScience and Tamino’s blog are also ‘on the internet’ outside academic peerreview.

Adam Gallon

It’s the Aussies’ revenge! We sent them our criminals for a few centuries, now it’s revenge! 😉

I’m 60 years old. Completely “up to date” with all modern technology. I have two B.S. Degrees in Engineering, and on MS. Experience in fossil fuels, manufacturing, nuclear, power plants, medical devices. I’m currently “not working” …I like to say, “hopefully between contract jobs”.
The most discouraging thing in life, for me right now, is to see clowns as Lewandosky simply jump from stipend to stipend, and have his “fellow travelers” care for his every need.
Where does one meet up with Lucifer, and where does one sign one’s soul away, is my primary question???

Sam the First

Bristol is my alma mater. The shame of it!
To whom should I write, for maximum impact?

Who needs scientific ‘credibility’, when you can provide scientific ‘celebrity’ ?
Don’t be so cerebral…Instead….CELEBRATE !
Future screen caps need to show Dr Lew in full costume with his eye patch and parrot on the shoulder….strike the Jolly Roger….as we celebrate….the newest RS pirate !


When I read this I assumed that there was confusion between the “University of Bristol” and “The University of the West of England”? The former is long-established university with an excellent research record. UWE is a recently re-designated local college. So far as I know, Bristol University is not active in promoting AGW-as real[1]. However, UWE was active, and may still be. I assumed that the “University of Bristol” was merely hosting a Royal Society function.
However, I appear to be wrong.
Lewandowsky has considerable skills in fundamental physics, including quantum mechanics and the relationship to chemical bonds. His appointment, if I understand it correctly, is indeed to Bristol University, but as the Cognitive Psychology chair[2]. This is completely baffling, given the controversy over falsification of research results and his activism in promoting the dead CAGW-as-real agenda. It has perplexed other members of the university and appears to be a purely cynical political manouevre. Popcorn time[3]!
[1] Climate Change denial conference hosted at UWE
[2] Professor Stephan Lewandowsky
[3] Brendan O’Neill Pathologising dissent? Now that’s Orwellian!

I have just watched the video the red tie and the sneering tone when talking about the free market and sceptics says it all really. I would still like one of these people to tell me how a gas in the atmosphere is going to play havoc with the world’s climate when its concentration rises from 0.035% to 0.039%, because common sense tells me it won’t! I would also like to ask why should I pay more car tax, more flight duty, higher energy and petrol bills and watch my country turn into an economic backwater to prevent 0.0001% of this CO2 entering the atmosphere!


There really *is* a conspiracy. It’s currently centered exactly where the world’s oldest real thermometer record shows no trend change in 350 years, no plot required since a verbal description is so easy: a noisy straight line that hugs its linear trend and recently plunges through it.

Dennis Gaskill

Wow talk about a conspiracy theory ….that evil free market……those Rothschilds ………gasp….
people can amass large fortunes………The horror….the horror of it.
He claims to be part Psychologist!
Talk about an extreme case of projection.!!!!!!!
That video proves He is a marxist ……….
I haven’t heard a speech like that since Stalin died.

Lewandowsky won a mobility award: The grant is conditional on him moving to Bristol.
There is a long lag between initial idea, grant application, and award. This has nothing to do with recent events.


ConfusedPhoton says:
April 28, 2013 at 11:43 am
short answer – NO !


Re: the video.
All this time, I thought I was nuts 🙂
Now, I see there are different levels.

Too convenient, if you ask me. I think Lew’s hoping the investigations will be dropped with him halfway across the world. The pressure will be off UWA, too – no rush to look too closely at anything as “he’s gone now, so it doesn’t matter anymore” (perhaps). He’ll be back when the heat has gone. UWA will reinstate him, welcoming him back with open arms. Forgive me for being cynical, I’ve learnt not to trust any individual or university. They’ll say what they need to say and cover their “donkeys”. How’s Cook going? Has he done a bunk, too?

Lance Wallace

Checking the Jo Nova link, I see that she is up for a “best Australian blog” award. But voting shuts down tomorrow for US voters, so if you want to vote, do so now. Requires finding her blog (on the second page of 5) checking it off, and paging through three more pages and hitting”done” when done.

Given the recent events, the peers at Bristol University are now morally obliged to give Stephan Lewandowsky a thorough review.


Obviously Stephan Lewandowsky’s move to Bristol is not a flight from adverse consequences at the University of Western Australia.
So far there have been none at UWA, and there is no way to know at present whether the recent complaints against him will result in anything but standard-issue administrative coverup. Meanwhile, such moves take time to arrange.
From what I’ve been able to learn about the Wolfson-Royal Society award Lewandowsky received, it was probably also in the works for a while, but it would be foolish to assume that his role as a CAGW propagandist over the past 5 or 6 years played no role in his receiving it.
The project for which he is cited in the award notice is his research program of the last few years on misinformation. This has included and presumably will continue to include his imputation of “conspiracist ideation” and anti-science attitudes to CAGW skeptics.
Would he have landed this award on the strength of his earlier work in cognitive psychology? Lewandowsky is not a superstar memory researcher.
PS. Lewandowsky’s professional training has all been in psychology. The commenter who imputed knowledge of microphysics to him must have a different researcher in mind.


UPDATE: Richard Tol provides some insight in comments. I wasn’t aware of a “mobility award” and there is nothing in the announcement he cites about it or its conditions.
Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
April 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Lewandowsky won a mobility award: The grant is conditional on him moving to Bristol.
There is a long lag between initial idea, grant application, and award. This has nothing to do with recent events.
So while his move may cool the complaints raised at UWA, it seems that he’s simply “following the money”.

The Wolfson Foundation awards are for boosting salaries to attract high ranking academics to UK Universities, they’re basically for a few years as a startup bonus for someone. I wouldn’t think that it would be worth moving halfway around the world for that. Judging by the recent paper he wrote last year he’s been in collaboration with the group at Bristol for a while, and is currently on sabbatical leave there. Perhaps they applied for the grant to make the sabbatical permanent?

Lewandowski got a “Mobility Award”??
“Mobility”? That sounds like an Orwell label for a “Tuck Tail & Run Award”.
The Lewandowski affair is like a long running soap opera.

Good riddance I say. We don’t want him in Perth.

What distressed ME most about this whole sordid affair is that my RonSir® glasses, for generations the trademark of distinguished scientific and engineering nerds the world over, are now the ‘new’ face of scientific charlatans. I can’t imagine that the Shuron people are pleased at this development either since it tends to tarnish their brand.
I may need new reading glasses.

Remind you of anyone

Tom J

What sort of man is Lewandowsky? Well, here’s a book, readily available at Amazon.
‘Computational Modeling in Cognition: Principles and Practice’ (Paperback)
by Stephan Lewandowsky
Here’s the description:
‘An accessible introduction to the principles of computational and mathematical modeling in psychology and cognitive science.’
So, Mr. Lewandowsky apparently feels (and a feeling is probably all it is) that computational and mathematical modeling can be used in the determination of human behavior.
Nuff said.

Jerry M

Any reports of John Cook planning to follow his mentor with a move of Cartoon Central to the UK?
That *would* mean a seriously lousy start to my week.

Thanks for the links to my posts. Can I add this one?

Lars P.

This conspiracy theorist is now in Bristol?
An abject data fabricationist that should not be allowed to pollute young peoples mind with his conspiracy theories.


Lew appears to have lost his ‘baggage” enroute. His staff info page at Bristol shows him responsible for only a single publication, with his former UWA student, Simon Farrell (at Bristol since 2003) who teaches courses in ‘the psychology of science”.
Perhaps Lew was attracted by Bristol research which.. “reveals that small, low-powered studies are ‘endemic’ in neuroscience, producing unreliable research which is inefficient and wasteful.”?
“..many studies lack the ability to give definitive answers to the questions they are testing, and many claimed findings are likely to be incorrect or unreliable.”??
Sound as if it would be right up his alley.


If the RS wishes to promote the rubbish Lewandowsky produces, they’re free to do so, and we are free to regard them has a absolute joke for doing it. Like Mann, give him the spotlight and a bit a pressure and he will blow big style has he cannot keep his ego in check. The RS just bought themselves a time bomb of dog sh**

ursus augustus

I just love that video. You only have to watch it and you know the Lewny comes from another planet too. I love the eyebrow flicks. Does he practice them and the little sneers or do they just come out from the creature’s soul? Sorry, rhetorical musings – I actually don’t give a stuff about this clown. Jim South London is being quite cruel to Zac the Alien I think. Jim you should be more respectful of good comedy. But the resemblance is uncanny.

ursus augustus

PS If Lewny is a cognitive scientist then cognitive science must be an oxymoron.

Johan i Kanada

Surely this video is a joke? He cannot be serious, can he?

He’s even uglier to look at than Michael Mann! And his ideas are just as ugly. Of course he suffers from the usual leftist inability to listen to anything that contradicts his lies and smears. One would think that his sort of buffoonery woould sooner or later cast some doubt on the AGW fantasy.

While I definitely appreciate Anthony’s H/T … I’d like to point out this really is Jo Nova’s ‘scoop’ – it was her hard work that allowed her to develope this lead well over a month ago. It was then a matter or waiting for confirmation, which this announcement provided. Jo deserves the credit here … and while we’re doing so, Geoff Chambers provided the link to the award story that led me to Lews new staff page in the UK.
I’d like to encourage caution against treating this as in any way related to the controversy over Lews terrible work and problems with the Moon Landing and Recursive Fury papers. They were, and are junk – however it is unlikely his move is related.
We certainly don’t want to be accused of nefarious intent or other such sundry conspiracies lest we help spawn ‘Son of Recursive Fury”
This was very likely in the works for some time, and appears to be a sabbatical – that Lew is still listed on staff at UWA – and will likely return tehre? when the grant runs out?


Wolfson has CAGW form:
Wikipedia: UEA Climatic Research Unit
The CRU was founded in 1971 as part of the university’s School of Environmental Sciences…
Initial sponsors included British Petroleum, the Nuffield Foundation and Royal Dutch Shell.[6] The Rockefeller Foundation was another early benefactor, and the Wolfson Foundation gave the Unit its current building in 1986.[5] Since the second half of the 1970s the Unit has also received funding through a series of contracts with the United States Department of Energy to support the work of those involved in climate reconstruction and analysis of the effects on climate of greenhouse gas emissions.[7] The UK Government (Margaret Thatcher) became a strong supporter of climate research in the mid-1980s…
The UEA-Wolfson Molecular Structure Centre
Its name too has changed, to the UEA-Wolfson Molecular Structure Centre in recognition of the generous support of the Wolfson Foundation for the Centre. The aim of the Centre remains the same, however.

Lil Fella from OZ

My commiserations to my like minded friends in the UK!


Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
April 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Lewandowsky won a mobility award: The grant is conditional on him moving to Bristol.
Maybe this is like the Government where it is far easier to provide awards to an incompetent for promotion than to fire him. Also explains a lot about many of the people at the top. Of course places like Penn State are already fixed in this way. If this is the case then the UWA is at least trying….


The poor guy has lost his marbles