Board & Officers

The policies and direction of the SMN, are the responsibility of a Board of up to twelve Directors. The directors are chosen by being recommended by subscription members of the SMN at their members AGM, which takes place at the Annual Gathering in July. The Board then ratifies new directors. Board meetings are also attended by the Network Manager, Company Secretary, Treasurer, Programme Director, and Communications and Fundraising Manager.  The SMN is a charity which was founded in 1973, and then became a charitable company limited by guarantee, at the beginning of 2004.

Paul Filmore, PhD, MBA, MInstPhys, CPhys, FHEA, FRSA
Chairman of the Board

Paul FilmorePaul lectures in personal and professional development, entrepreneurship, electronics and business management, predominantly to postgraduates at the University of Plymouth, after having been a research physicist for many years. His current research is in creativity and break-through problem solving both for the individual and organisations. He gives talks around the world and is a regular judge for international innovation competitions. He also runs an educational consultancy. He always looks for opportunities to incorporate the spiritual aspect in his research talks, workshops and teaching.

He has a very great interest in all areas of education and with his wife Catherine, jointly ran the original Network student ‘Wider Horizons’ course, for many years. He has been active in the Network for over forty years, since meeting George Blaker and Peter Leggett as an undergraduate, and attending the very first Wider Horizons course. A few years later he became a trustee of the SMN, at George Blaker’s request, and has been until summer 2015, when he switched roles to be chairman.

Richard Irwin, BA(Hons), MIoD
Board Director & Treasurer

Richard IrwinRichard Irwin is an entrepreneurial and professional director, consultant and IT Due Diligence practitioner with a passion for reconciling science with spirituality (see, who also composes and arranges music (see Richard was an Internet pioneer in the 1990’s, writing what was possibly the first on-line hotel reservation system in 1995. The technology he built was used by companies such as Travelocity and for hotel availability for many years. Since 2005 he has worked as a technology due diligence consultant providing strategic reviews of company ICT systems and technology.

Richard has responsibility for driving forward the SMN’s new web strategy.

Paul Kieniewicz, BSc and MA Astronomy, MSc Geophysics
Board Director & Deputy Chairman

Paul KieniewiczGeorge Blaker, a founder of the SMN expressed the purpose of the organization : To win greater acceptance by science and medicine of man’s spiritual essence; to show that this is wholly consistent with current knowledge of the physical chemistry of his physical body. For many years this has been my life work, expressed through my writing and lecturing. I hold advanced degrees in Astronomy and in Geophysics. For twenty years I worked in the oil and gas industry as a specialist of the Earth’s gravity and magnetic field. Other interest are  the human biological field, the Gaia Theory and Gnostic Christianity. I am also a practitioner of non-contact healing and live in Aberdeenshire on four acres which is becoming a lush bio-diverse garden. I am the co-author (with Andrew Glazewski) of  Harmony of the Universe and science fiction novels Gaia’s Children and Immortality Machine. Currently the Web Content Editor for the SMN website and co-editor of the Network Review. For more information see my website:

Molly Hackney
Board Director

Molly Martinez Hackney is co-editor of The Medium’s Medium, a publication of Spiritualist Art from the 19th and 20th centuries, once ignored by the cultural mainstream. The book served as the supporting literature in sales of channelled artwork from the other realm at Frieze Masters, London.  She graduated from the University of Bristol in 2019 with a First-Class Honours History of Art degree, culminating in her dissertation The Alternative Guide to the Universe. This was the first academic paper on Outsider Art and scientific endeavour (a raw form of creativity, produced from impulse without the intent to sell, for an audience of self). Focussing on the art of unorthodox visions of time and space, the dissertation stretched the parameters of the art historical canon to include the aesthetics of Mayan numerology, Pythagorean mathematics, Goethe colour theory and I Ching principles.

She has worked in the advertising industry, re-positioning Eclectic Music Productions and in Berlin for Ciclope Awards, the Oscars of advertising content. Raised by an integrative psychotherapist mother and an advertising producer father, her interest lies in the strange hinterland between the belief that consciousness exists beyond the brain, and how to market such a thing. Now on the board of the Scientific & Medical Network, Molly intends to attract her generation of members on this noble plight of a paradigm shift to a post-materialist world view.

Vasileios Basios
Board Director

Dr Vasileios Basios is a senior researcher at the Physics of Complex Systems Department of the University of Brussels, conducting interdisciplinary research on self-organisation and emergence in complex matter as well as aspects of the foundations of complex systems. During his formative years, he worked within the team of Ilya Prigogine at the Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry in Brussels. He is interested in the history of ideas in science and their role in the transformation of science beyond the prevailing mechanistic world-view. He believes that never before has the need for a qualitative change in science been so apparent and pressing and that complexity studies have made such a radical change not just possible but imperative. He is inspired by the prospect of introducing self-reflection into the practice -and the understanding- of science and he aspires to contribute insights from complex systems science that can help put forth a resilient, flexible and robust network of networks comprising of individuals, groups, organizations and research initiatives towards this noble goal.
He is a senior member of and speaker for the Scientific and Medical Network and an active adviser of the Galileo Commission.

David Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA
Programme Director

David LorimerDirector of the Scientific and Medical Network from 1986-2000. He is now Programme Director and continues to edit the Review. He is author and editor of over a dozen books, most recently ‘Radical Prince: the Practical Vision of the Prince of Wales’, ‘Science, Consciousness and Ultimate Reality’ ‘A New Renaissance’ and ‘The Protein Crunch’ (with Jason Drew). He is a Fellow of the International Futures Forum, Chief Consultant of Character Scotland, President of Wrekin Trust and  a former President of the Swedenborg Society. He was educated at Eton and the Universities of St Andrews and Cambridge. After a spell in merchant banking, he spent a number of years teaching modern languages and philosophy at Winchester College.

Jacqueline Nielsen BA, BL

Board Director

Profile picture of Jacqui Nielsen

Educated at Trinity College Dublin and the Kings Inns, Jacqui spent two decades working in business before realising an earlier ambition in being called to the Irish bar in 1987. Jacqueline runs the SMN Irish Group and since joining the Board has accepted the portfolio for national and local groups. Her reasons for joining the Network:

“I am an enthusiastic member of SMN because I have found that its academic range and its ethos exactly correspond to my personal intellectual interests and approach. I have found within it a milieu which combines intellectual rigour with openmindedness and good fellowship, almost a spiritual home.”

Tuvi Orbach, BSc. MBA
Board Director

Tuvi OrbachProfile: Purpose: To inspire people enhancing their life: To develop, implement  and promote, methods, knowledge, products and solutions which enhance self awareness, open minded, well-being,  and quality of life. To help people know and better understand their whole-selves, their relationships, their purpose, empowering them to improve their health, well-being and potential, and to achieve their goals, so enjoying a longer, healthier, happier enhanced fulfilled and meaningful life.

To contribute to global mind change and promote a new paradigm that enhances mainstream science to include consciousness, and spirituality and creates bridges between business and values, between conventional medicine and integrated holistic health, and inspires people to be more open minded and enjoy meaningful life.

Entrepreneur, established and managed several companies (one public in NASDAQ one in the London Stock Exchanged and 3 private, and software incubator which created tens companies.) in the areas of software, health, psychology and well-being.

Founder of and and Managing Trustee of an educational charity Director of Scientific and Medical Network domain – communication and content of the website.

Nicholas Pilbrow, Chartered Accountant
Company Secretary

Nicholas PilbrowNicholas is a Chartered Accountant and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. He has many years of experience in venture capital and corporate finance & structure and has acted as finance director for a number of client companies. He is a partner in Robert Fraser & Partners (2000 – to date), a boutique corporate finance house where he has been involved in the organization of finance, corporate structure and management of marine, power, management consultancy, hotel and media projects. He is the CFO of the Be Energy Group of companies (2010 – to date), which is an environmentally restorative group of companies, using a triple bottom line basis of operation which combines profitability, social justice and environmental sustainability. He is also a founder of web based companies Positive TV and Earth 2 which provides a platform for cutting edge technologies for a sustainable future.

Nicholas is very interested in religion and philosophy and has always been interested in the relationship between science and spirituality; this is what attracted him to the SMN.

Joan Walton, PhD
Board Director

Joan WaltonJoan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at York St John University, teaching Research Methods on the Masters programme, and supervising doctoral students.  She is particularly interested in exploring the ontological and epistemological contexts within which approaches to research are located.  This has led to her taking an active interest in the phenomenon of consciousness, which, to quote Christian de Quincey, is ‘our deepest mystery and our most intimate reality’.

Joan, in collaboration with colleagues from both western and eastern cultures, are researching different ways of understanding consciousness. This also leads to a meaningful dialogue about various interpretations of science and spirituality, the relationship between them, and the significance of this discussion for the ontological and epistemological foundations of social and educational research. She draws on a wide range of disciplines, including quantum physics, biology, transpersonal psychology, and diverse spiritual traditions, to inform her research.

Chiara Reghellin, PhD

Chiara ReghellinChiara is from Italy, has a PhD in literature, and over 10 years of administrative management, project management and sales and operations management experience. She has taught at university level and her most recent job was project managing English courses for a language school. She works 4 days a week at present. Due to Chiara’s direct experience, she will also support some of the schools & university outreach e.g., the Speaker Service. Chiara is thus our internal face, and will most likely be the person you will have spoken to if you phoned the office. However, Chiara is expecting her second child and will be on maternity leave for about six month from October 2017.

We wish Chiara all the best over the coming months, she will be missed!

Lana Sackwild
Marketing & social media manager /IT support

Lana Sackwild

From September 2017, Lana took on Chiara’s duties and worked in the office until Chiara returned in April 2018. Lana is currently studying for her Alef Trust MSc in Professional Development (Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology) from Middlesex. She is developing her business as a lucid dream coach, fluent in Japanese, and has worked for Mitsubishi Materials, MSH Health and Wellbeing and in Tokyo with Global Power and Gaba Corporation.

Andrew Polson, MA

Prior to joining the Scientific and Medical Network Andrew has been in the print industry, having worked in the production and sub-editing department for a leading UK consumer magazine publisher for the previous ten years. He has also had event organising experience, booking and facilitating weekend meditation retreats and workshops in London. With an educational background in the humanities and a Masters degree in Education and Politics, Andrew has maintained a keen interest in philosophy, science and the latest research into consciousness, and in 2017 he completed a two-month online course through The University of British Columbia on the Science of Religion. Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Andrew has lived in the United Kingdom for over 15 years and now holds dual citizenship in both countries. He will take over UK office duties three days a week alongside Chiara Reghellin (who will continue to work one a day a week) and will continue taking on freelance sub-editing work as well.

Edi Bilimoria, PhD, CEng, MFIMechE, MInstE, MInstPet

Board Director

Edi BilimoriaBorn in India and educated at the universities of London, Sussex and Oxford, Dr. Edi Bilimoria presents an unusual blend of experience in the fields of science, arts and philosophy.

In science and engineering, Edi has worked as a Consultant to the petrochemical, oil and gas, aerospace, transport, and construction industries. He has been Project Manager and Head of Design for major innovative projects such as the Channel Tunnel, London Underground systems and offshore installations.

A student of the perennial philosophy for some forty years, Edi has given courses and lectured extensively in the UK, and internationally in California, The Netherlands, India and Australia. He has organized and chaired several major conferences. His written work has been published extensively in the fields of science, engineering and the esoteric philosophy. His book The Snake and the Rope was awarded the Network prize in 2008. He worked as Education Manager from 2009-11 for The Theosophical Society in Australia developing study courses and study papers, researching, lecturing and organizing international conferences. Additionally, he supervised the Campbell Theosophical Research Library, the National Media Library, the National Members Lending Library, and the development of the website. He is now deeply committed to the mission.

Oliver Robinson, MA, MSc, PhD
Consultant to the Board

Olly RobinsonI am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Greenwich University, specialising in adult development. I have recently written a book called ‘Development through Adulthood‘, published by Palgrave Macmillan. I help out with marketing and communications for the Scientific and Medical Network. The Network provides a forum where I can discuss both scientific and spiritual ideas in an atmosphere of friendliness, criticality and open-mindedness. I believe that science is brilliant but limited, and that where its limitations are reached, we find that mystical and spiritual ways of being and knowing have their niche in the search for Truth. I meditate regularly, enjoy spiritual dance practices, and find sustenance in silence and prayer. I have co-edited a book with David Lorimer entitled A New Renaissance: Transforming Science, Spirit and Society, published by Floris Books. The material within the book covers many of the areas that I find fascinating: the nature of mind and consciousness, the question of what it means to be spiritual, and the nature of modernity and the ‘transmodern shift’ that we are currently experiencing.

Dr Peter Fenwick, MB BChir, BA (Cantab), DPM, FRCPsych
President Emeritus

Peter FenwickePeter was educated at Trinity College Cambridge where he obtained an Honours Degree in Natural Science. His clinical medical training was carried out at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. After obtaining experience in neurosurgery he specialised in psychiatry. He is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Consultant Neurophysiologist at Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, and Honorary Consultant in Neurophysiology to Broadmoor Special Hospital. He has published numerous scientific papers on brain function and also several papers on meditation and altered states of consciousness. He is also President of the UK branch of the International Association of Near-Death Studies, reflecting his special interest in this field. He lectures widely in England, on the Continent and in the US on brain disorders and has made many appearances on radio and television. His most recent book is The Truth in the Light.

Bernard Carr, MA, PhD (Cantab)

Professor Bernard CarrMy interests span science, religion and psychical research (which I see as forming a bridge between them). All three activities date back to my undergraduate days at Cambridge , where I read mathematics and was later a Fellow at Trinity College , and all three fall within the remit of the SMN. My professional area of research is cosmology – for my PhD I studied the first second of the universe under Stephen Hawking – and includes such topics as the early universe, dark matter and the anthropic principle. In 1985 I moved to London University, where I am now Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary. I have a long-standing interest in the relationship between science and religion, giving frequent talks in this area, and was recently awarded a Templeton grant to organize a series of conferences on the evidence for cosmological fine-tuning. This has led to a book, entitled “Universe or Multiverse”, which I edited. I have been a member of the Society for Psychical Research for some 30 years, serving as its President in the period 2000-2004. My approach to the subject is mainly theoretical: I’m particularly keen to extend physics to incorporate consciousness and associated mental and spiritual phenomena. The SMN is unique in being broad enough to accommodate all three of my activities and I’m delighted to be currently serving on the Programming Committee.

Diana Clift, MA, (Oxon), M.Phil., A.I.P.T.I.
Vice President

Formerly a neurochemist, now a therapist and musician, Di has served on the Network Council for nearly fifteen years, including two months last Summer as acting chairman. She is an enthusiastic proponent of openminded science and suspicious of New Age beliefs, but loves the Network for its diversity and the informal networking known as partying!

Claudia Nielsen, PhD, MA
Vice President

I was born in Brazil and came to the UK in my twenties. Here I married, and brought up my three boys, now all grown up. Throughout my adult life I worked in a variety of industries and in my 40’s went back to Psychology – studied in Brazil – and retrained in psychotherapy. My interests are all connected with my passion for life and living and I see human beings as an expression of a meaningful Universe. I currently run the London local group of the SMN.

Prof. Marilyn Monk, BSc, MSc, PhD, MSTAT

Vice President

Marilyn Monk is an academic research scientist in the fields of molecular biology, early development and cancer. She is Emeritus Professor of Molecular Embryology at UCL London and, previously, Honorary Professor at University of Melbourne, and Adjunct Professor at Monash University in Australia. Her research covers DNA replication and repair in bacteria, cell signalling and aggregation of slime mould amoebae, and gene expression and its regulation by epigenetic modification in mammalian development, Among her discoveries are mechanisms of epigenetic programming of gene expression, deprogramming and re-programming in development, epigenetic environmental adaptation (Lamarckian inheritance), and embryonic gene expression in cancers. Her group developed a wide range of single cell molecular techniques to study gene expression, gene modification, and gene mutation at the sensitivity of the single cell. Clinical applications include early diagnosis of genetic disease, stem cells and regenerative medicine, and a search for a possible cancer vaccine targeting embryonic gene expression in cancers. In addition to her scientific career, she has a longstanding interest in the arts, psychology and mysticism. She is qualified as a Psychosynthesis Counsellor and an Alexander Technique Teacher. Marilyn has been a member of SMN since the 80’s, a member of the SMN Board for 7 years, and a regular contributor to the SMN review.

Martin Redfern, BSc
Vice President

In everyday life I’m a senior producer in the BBC Radio Science Unit, where I’ve worked for 20 years. I joined the Beeb with a Geology degree from University College London, where I spent more time than I should staging student plays and operas. Most of my broadcasting has been for World Service, but I do a lot on Radio 4 too. It’s mostly conventional science news and features, but I try where I can to include deeper aspects of cosmology, the nature of consciousness, spirituality and the interface between science and religion. For example, I made three features on science and religion based around the Templeton- sponsored ‘Science and the Spiritual Quest’ conference last October. I am an active member of ‘The Study Society’ where I learnt meditation and study the non-dualistic or Advaita system of philosophy. I also enjoy the countryside and its wildlife, archaeology and pottering around my large garden in Kent.

Prof John Clarke, BA, MA
Vice President

John ClarkeProfessor John Clarke BA, MA is a Vice-President of the SMN, having been on the Board of Directors and Chair of the Board, and a long-time member of the Network. He has taught philosophy at various universities abroad and in the UK, and retired some years ago as Professor in the History of Ideas. His most recent book, The Self-Creating Universe: the Making of a Worldview, is a study of emergentism as a way of bringing science and spirituality together in a philosophical synthesis.