Professor Richard Wilson – Atlantic Legal’s Link to Science and the Law


Richard Wilson is Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics Emeritus at Harvard University and immediate past Director of the Universitys Regional Center for Global Environmental Change. He has been a key figure in Atlantic Legals campaign against the use of junk science in court.

Professor Wilson is a past Chairman of the Department of Physics at Harvard and a past chairman and currently a member of the Cyclotron Operating Committee. He is a founder of the Society for Risk Analysis. He has been a consultant to the United States government and the governments of numerous foreign countries on matters of nuclear safety, toxicology, epidemiology, public health and safety, and risk assessment. Professor Wilsons areas of expertise include elementary particle physics, radiation physics, chemical carcinogens, air pollution, ground water pollution by arsenic, and human rights.

R Wilson He is the author or co-author of more than 880 published papers and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Forum Award of the American Physical Society in 1990 and the Presidential Citation of the American Nuclear Society in 2008 for ‘[M]entoring students for over 50 years in nuclear science, engineering and technology and his tireless efforts promoting peaceful application of nuclear power. He was awarded the 2005 ‘Erice’ prize for Science and Peace of the Ettore Majorana Institute of Scientific Culture in Erice, Italy. He is the President of the Arsenic Foundation, which is dedicated to helping to avoid the arsenic poisoning from drinking contaminated water supplies in Southeast Asia. Professor Wilson also serves on the Board of Directors of the Andrey Sakharov Foundation of New York which endeavors to continue the work of Andrey Sakharov in human rights and human progress.

Working with Foundation General Counsel, Martin Kaufman, and other members of the Foundation’s Advisory Council, he has helped to make the Foundation the nations preeminent public interest law firm in advocating for the admissibility of sound medical and expert testimony in toxic tort, product liability and related litigation. In a leading case in the Supreme Court of the United States, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, the majority opinion cited the Foundations incisive friend of the court brief in its decision that set the evidentiary standard for expert scientific testimony in federal courts. Representing scores of noted scientists, including 16 Nobel laureates, the Foundation has successfully challenged bogus theories of medical causation in numerous federal and state cases over the last fifteen years.

As an enthusiastic member of the Foundations Advisory Council, Dick Wilson has identified dozens of examples of distortion of scientific principles by experts trotted out before juries who are asked to award damages to plaintiffs and their attorneys, most often in cases where the cause of injury can only be determined by a disciplined scientific analysis. Importantly, he has identified and recruited some of the nations leading scientists to join in the Foundation’s amicus curiae briefs.

Dick Wilsons skillful melding of the scientific method and legal analysis have been instrumental in demonstrating that exposure to minute amounts of possibly harmful substances, such as atomic radiation, electromagnetic fields and chemicals could not have been the cause of alleged injury.