Gerald Leach, who has died at the age of 71, was an outstanding science journalist.
others of the 50s and 60s, he was lost to journalism when the
environmental movement emerged in the early 1970s, and he spent the
last 30 years of his career as an analyst, researcher, and adviser on
Gerry Leach was born in Sri Lanka, educated at Dauntsey’s and Cambridge, and started work as a BBC studio manager.
Anglia TV, his next job, he appeared on screen presenting a popular
science programme, It Can Happen Tomorrow . He co-produced the BBC
series Eye on Research , became science editor of Penguin books, and
wrote several books of his own, including New Sources of Energy and
Science Shapes Tomorrow . The most influential of his books was The
Biocrats (1970) a pioneering account of new reproductive technologies.
the time this was published, he was science correspondent of The
Observer , after a spell at The Guardian and at the Sunday Times
His spell at The Observer included a splash which was
the first account of the Limits to Growth model developed in the US –
the first time that computer modelling had been used to predict the
global future. Simple, crude and unreliable as this model proved to be,
Leach recognised its importance.
He then became an academic, and his chosen field was energy analysis, at which he became an international expert.
He always brought a shrewd analytical intelligence to every issue he tackled.
He helped give science writing a solid footing in the British press, and an independence from simplistic judgement.
Gerry was married to Penelope Leach, the child development researcher and author, and lived for many years in Hampstead.
Nigel Hawkes, The Times