Religion, Universities and Bureaucracy

Programme Details

Chair Prof David Randall | Biology

Professor David RandallProfessor David Randall was Professor of Zoology UBC Canada from 1963 to 2004 and Chair Professor (2000-2006; 2009- present) and Head of Biology and Chemistry at the City University of Hong Kong, 2000-2006. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1981. He has received many awards and has worked in universities around the world including Universities of Nairobi; George Washington; Zhongshan; Nanjing; Bristol; Milan; and the National University of Singapore and has worked in many institutions including a Max Planck Institute, Gottingen, Germany; marine stations in Naples, Italy; Plymouth, UK; Port Aransas, Texas; USA; Okinawa, and Bamfield, BC, Canada. He was President (1985) of the Canadian Society of Zoologists; President of the Western Canadian Universities Marine Biological Society and a trustee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (HK). He led an expedition of 36 scientists to the Amazon River in 1976. Professor David Randall has authored around three hundred original papers and has edited and contributed to, many books, including the series on Fish Physiology (26+ volumes) and many Springer Verlag publications. One of his books “Animal Physiology” has been translated into French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, and Greek and is the best selling book in its category world-wide. His research interests concern oxygen, carbon dioxide and ammonia transfer in aquatic systems, especially in fish. He has a continuing interest in aquatic toxicology especially the actions of ammonia and hypoxia.


The bureaucracy of the Catholic Church developed with the collapse of the Roman Empire, heralding the dark ages in Europe. It appears bureaucracy flourishes in the absence of strong central management and the structure of the Church may have been very different had it not been coupled to the fall of the Roman Empire. My life spans a period of change which is larger and more rapid than any other in Human history. If I live long enough it may include the collapse of the Anglo-American Empire.  Is increasing bureaucracy of the present a harbinger of this collapse? Universities are part of this burgeoning bureaucracy. The Educational system has replaced many social programs previously served by religion. Will Universities be used to control the population, heralding a global gloom equivalent to the European dark ages? How can we prevent this from happening in ever more bureaucratic Universities? I don’t have answers but I will discuss these questions reflecting on my own experience.