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Prof Philip Thomas becomes City of London Livery Company Junior Warden

26 October 2020

Philip Thomas, who is Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol, has been installed as Junior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.

Philip will chair the Education Committee, which manages the Company's charitable support across the full educational range from primary school through university to continuing professional development. The Scientific Instrument Makers' Company, is the 84th in order of precedence of 110 Livery Companies in the City of London. Its objective is to further the skills and practice of scientific measurement and instrumentation, taking in all related technologies, including data analysis.

Scientific Instrument Makers' Company

The Companies have their roots in the religious fraternities known as gilds or guilds that grew up round the City's churches in late Anglo Saxon times to represent the interests of workers in particular crafts or trades.  "Gild" meant payment or subscription and the funds raised from members' subscriptions could be used for social, charitable and trade purposes.  The first Companies, which regulated the development of crafts and trades, were founded at the same time, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as the ancient centres of learning that developed into the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The Scientific Instrument Makers' Company was granted livery status in 1963.  

Philip began his professional life as an instrumentation and control engineer working in the chemical and then nuclear industries.  He took up a full time chair in Engineering Development at City, University of London in 2000.  He has been professor of risk management in the Faculty of Engineering since 2015.  He researches the Judgement- or J-value method for assessing risk measures, particularly in the nuclear industry, where he has been active in the South West Nuclear Hub.  He has applied the J-value to the current coronavirus pandemic, where he has warned that prolonged lockdowns may cost more life than they can save.

Further information

J-value method for nuclear risk assessment

The J-value provides an objective tool that assesses the cost-effectiveness of safety schemes for a wide range of industries. It is a new approach, based on established economic theory, that balances safety expenditure against the extension of life-expectancy brought about by the safety scheme.

A major application was in the NREFS Project: Coping with a big nuclear accident that was released in a special issue of Process Safety and Environmental Protection in 2017.

Full citation: Thomas, P. and May, J. (eds.), 2017, "Coping with a big nuclear accident; Closing papers from the NREFS project", Special Issue of Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Volume 112, Part A, Pages 1–198, November.

Further information can be found at

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