In his testimony to the inquiry, Sir Patrick shed light on the challenges faced by scientific advisers in communicating complex ideas to politicians, as evidenced by the former prime minister’s struggles with certain concepts. Mr Johnson’s frustration with the former prime minister was not unique, as many scientific advisers in other countries were facing similar challenges. During a meeting with scientific advisers from across Europe, everyone laughed when it was revealed that one leader was struggling with exponential curves. This difficulty was not limited to Mr Johnson and was affecting many other countries as well.
Sir Patrick’s diary entries reveal that Mr Johnson had given up science at a young age and struggled with understanding complex concepts. On September 20, 2020, he even wondered if “we are licked as a species” before imposing another lockdown. These entries provide insight into the difficulties leaders like Mr Johnson encountered in comprehending such concepts and the challenges faced by scientific advisers in communicating them to politicians.
Overall, this article highlights the importance of effective communication between scientists and policymakers and the need for political leaders to have a solid understanding of science in order to make informed decisions.