His previous posts include Director of the Science Museum, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Chairman of the London Climate Change Partnership, President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and founder and Head of UCL’s Satellite Remote Sensing Group. He was Chair of the International Planning Group for the International Polar Year 2007-2008 and Chair of the European Space Agency Director General’s High-Level Science Policy Advisory Committee. Rapley is Chair of the UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science.
In 2014 Prof Rapley and the playwright Duncan Macmillan wrote the acclaimed play ‘2071’ which Prof Rapley performed at the Royal Court theater and in Hamburg and Brussels. The script is available in paperback published by John Murray. More recently Prof Rapley was the Science Consultant on BBC1’s ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ presented by Sir David Attenborough.
In 2003 Prof Rapley was appointed CBE by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2008 he was awarded the Edinburgh Science Medal for having made ‘a significant contribution to the understanding and wellbeing of humanity’.