Matthew White Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley, DL, FRSL, FMedSci, known commonly as Matt Ridley, is a British journalist who has written several popular science books. He is also a businessman and a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Ridley is best known for his writings on science, the environment, and economics. He has written several science books including The Red Queen, Genome and The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. In 2011, he won the Hayek Prize, which "honors the book published within the past two years that best reflects Hayekâ€™s vision of economic and individual liberty." Ridley also gave the Angus Millar Lecture on "scientific heresy" at the Royal Society of Arts in 2011. He was recently elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and won the Julian Simon award in March 2012.
His popular TED conference talk, "When Ideas Have Sex", has over 2 million views. Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It's not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.