Professor Richard Wiseman

Professor Richard Wiseman was made a patron of Humanists UK for his contribution to the greater public understanding of science.

Psychologist and magician

Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician before obtaining a degree in psychology from University College London and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. He is currently Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where he has gained an international reputation for research into psychology of luck, self-help, persuasion and illusion. He has published over 50 papers in leading peer-reviewed academic journals (includingNature and Psychological Bulletin). He is well-known for his sceptical stance on the paranormal, and much of his work examines how developing normal explanations for allegedly paranormal phenomena can help us to understand our brains, beliefs and behaviour, and, as well as being regularly cited in academic works, his work as an advocate for science and reason is popular with sceptics and the media.

Professor Wiseman’s research has featured in a large number of television programmes, includingHorizon (BBC), Body Shock (Channel 4), 20/20 (ABC), and Dateline (NBC). He is often heard on BBC Radio 4, with regular appearances on Start The Week, Midweek and The Today Programme. Feature articles about his research have been published in The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, and his work made the front cover of New Yorker magazine. A recent poll revealed that he was the psychologist most frequently quoted in the British media. He was recently listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britaina better place to live and he has received various awards for his work, including the CSICOP Public Education In Science Award, the Joseph Lister Award For Social Science, and the Perrott Warrick Scholarship from Trinity College Cambridge.

Professor Wiseman's books include: The Luck Factor, a comprehensive account of his research into the psychology of luck; Quirkology, on the curious psychology of everyday life, including laughter, lying, and love; 59 Seconds, an investigation into the science of self-help and rapid change; and his latest,Paranormality (2011). Buy his books at through this link and a small commission will go to Humanists UK.

He has spoken at many conferences, including Humanists UK's, and has appeared in New Humanist's "‘Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People".  He also co-directed and co-presented "Theatre of Science" with best-selling author Simon Singh.

See also his websites and