Dr Ben Goldacre diagnoses the problems with medicine and talks about his student days

Dr Ben Goldacre, author of the bestsellers Bad Science and Bad Pharma, dissects what is wrong with modern medicine and argues for better evidence-based medicine in a 15-minute podcast.

The champion of evidence-based medicine describes his latest projects, including an Ebola trials tracker, to improve the transparency of clinical trials.

Dr Goldacre explains his research at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences' Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, part of Oxford University. He also refers to structural challenges facing medicine and highlights the lack of funding for evidence-based projects.

The self-confessed 'stats geek', who studied' medicine at Magdalen College at Oxford University, describes how he was inspired by his enthusiastic tutors during his studies. The doctor, academic, campaigner and writer also counsels against so-called miracle cures.

The interview is the latest in the monthly Alumni Voices podcast series.

Oxford & Cambridge Society of Hong Kong - Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ball 2015

On 10 October, we - The Oxford & Cambridge Society of Hong Kong - held our traditional Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ball 2015.

The ball is a biennial fund-raising event which is organised to help provide scholarship grants in support of meaningful student projects in developing regions around the world for the benefit of needy communities. 

Among the latest projects supported by the scheme in 2014/15 were an alumnus’s trip to Uganda to work with children affected by AIDS and an alumna’s six-week geology research project in Northern Italy.

Highlights of an Oxford education shared at book launch of Oxformed

The enriching and personal experiences of life at Oxford University were recounted by two friends as they read excerpts from their autobiographical book. 

Dr Hammad Khan and Dr Shiva Amiri discussed the opportunities and challenges of being international graduate students during the launch of Oxformed: a journey through Oxford at Rhodes House.

They told friends, family and other Oxonians at the event on 9 November how their enduring friendship was forged when they were studying for their doctorates at Wolfson College from 2003 to 2006.

Dr Khan (DPhil, Engineering Science), a Rhodes Scholar from Pakistan, explained how the book was born from a shared desire to document their much-loved student days. He emphasised the importance of debate at Oxford by reading from the book about his experiences of matriculation – the formal ceremony at which students are admitted to Oxford University. Dr Khan recalled how Sir Colin Lucas, then Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, addressed the students and encouraged them to learn by meeting and debating with others holding opposing views.

Iranian-born Dr Amiri (DPhil, Computational Biochemistry) also read an excerpt regarding her early days in Oxford after leaving her home in Toronto, Canada. She stressed the significance of a talk by a representative from Oxford University’s Counselling Service. She said: 'After this presentation it became apparent everyone was feeling the same insecurities. It was a huge relief. ..Most people said they were sure that they were the only person there who had been admitted by mistake.'

Oxformed charts the psychological, social, political, and emotional events that influenced and formed both alumni authors. From tutorials to college bops, from college sport to work in the lab, and from cycling through Oxford’s medieval streets to overcoming loneliness, the book records the many aspects of student life from two different, but intertwined, perspectives.

Read more

OUS Houston - Annual Oktoberfest Event

On October 14, we - OUS Houston - held our annual Oktoberfest at Rudi Lechner’s Restaurant in Houston.

Rudi’s is a Houston institution and offers a selection of German foods from sauerkraut to schnitzel. Approximately 30 members and friends attended the dinner and we caught up with several members we hadn’t seen in a while, and opened the ranks to Cambridge alumni.

Spotlight on South Asia in Alumni Voices podcast

Dr Maria Misra shares her experiences as both a student and academic at Oxford University, as well as her love of South Asia, in a 15-minute interview.

Listen to the podcast


In the audio recording, Dr Misra, an Associate Professor of Modern History and a Fellow of Keble College, contextualises contemporary Indian politics and India's role in the world by mentioning India's diversity, Hindu nationalism, changing global power dynamics, and the importance of China. The author of Vishnu’s Crowded Temple: India Since the Great Rebellion also refers to current links and the relationship between India and the United Kingdom.


Dr Misra also explains how her intellectual interests have evolved from studying English and PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Christ Church to specialising in research and teaching the history of 20th century India and the British Empire in her role at Keble.

Spectacular Ceylon

In addition, the podcast focuses on Spectacular Ceylon - a visit for alumni to Sri Lanka in June 2016. Dr Misra will lead the tour and she describes its highlights, including:

  • UNESCO's World Heritage Site at Anuradhapura

  • centuries of Buddhist art

  • and the opportunities to see leopards and elephants.

Other attractions will include visits to tea estates and colonial forts, climbing the Sigiriya rock fortress, and exploring the historic painted caves at Dambulla. The trip runs from 11 - 24 June 2016.

Read more about Spectacular Ceylon 2016