I was born in Philadelphia in 1929; my full name is Jerome Raymond Ravetz. My grandfather was a Russian-Jewish immigrant, and my father a truck driver and union organizer. I attended Central High School and Swarthmore College (on a Pepsi-Cola Scholarship), and in 1950 came to Trinity College, Cambridge as a Fulbright Scholar. I did my Ph.D. in mathematics; but I soon changed my field to the History & Philosophy of Science, which I taught at Leeds University for many years.

I helped to found the
Council for Science and Society, serving as its Executive Secretary (1973-76), and I served on the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Group, as a representative of the public interest, in 1977-1978.  I have been a British citizen since 1961.

My principal published works include: Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems (Oxford U.P. 1971; Penguin; German and Japanese translations; reprint Transaction Publishers, 1996); The Merger of Knowledge with Power (Cassell 1990); (with S.O. Funtowicz) Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy (Kluwer 1990); and (co-edited with Zia Sardar) Cyberfutures (Pluto and N.Y.U. 1997) and Introducing Mathematics (Icon 1998). I am now an independent scholar and self-employed consultant, working mainly on problems of the management of uncertainty in risks and environmental issues.  I currently have a position as Associate Fellow at the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford

With Silvio Funtowicz, I have developed a notational system, 'NUSAP', for the representation of uncertainty in quantitative information; and we have also developed the concept of 'Post-Normal Science', a mode of scientific problem-solving appropriate to policy issues where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent. 

Some recent writings, along with those of colleagues in all these areas, can be found on the website www.nusap.net, which is hosted by Jeroen van der Sluijs in Utrecht. Essays that I have written in recent years (not all published) can be found on the appropriate page on this website. The blog www.postnormaltimes.net, by Sylvia Tognetti, carries news of current developments in that whole area, from a Florentine-American perspective.

Jerry Ravetz
Philosopher at large
Professional Biography