Baron May of Oxford

Robert May, Baron May of Oxford, has been Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government, President of the Royal Society, and a Professor at Sydney, Princeton, Oxford and Imperial College London. He is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, a crossbencher in the House of Lords and an appointed member of the council of the British Science Association.
How did you start playing bridge?
I learned as a postgraduate student, but only started playing seriously as a young lecturer at Sydney University. Sadly, by the time I became good enough to be considered for the New South Wales state team, I switched from physics to ecology, which meant spending more time on my academic career, and less and less on bridge.
How often do you play?
Not nearly enough, maybe four or five times a year, mostly at the House of Lords.
What does bridge mean to you?
I have always loved puzzles – I could spend my life solving problems and playing games, and bridge is one of the best. All my training as an administrator comes from bridge. It taught me to make decisions in a fog of uncertainty, relate to partner and team-mates, and move on cheerfully when things go wrong even if you have done everything right!
If you could change one thing about bridge, what would it be?
I would like to see it taught in schools as it is an excellent way of fostering cooperation and equanimity under uncertainty.
What are your hobbies apart from bridge?
Walking amid beautiful scenery. My wife and I have just finished walking the entire 630 miles of the South West coast path from Minehead to Poole.