Sunday, September 05, 2004

'Invisible scientists' should expose themselves

Time to demystify science to win trust (The Guardian)

    Public concern about the direction of research should be taken seriously, one of Britain's leading scientists will warn today.

    Dame Julia Higgins, president of the British Association, believes that although people support science through taxes, they have very little control over its uses - and often suffer the consequences.

    "There is a whole raft of questions about the dual use of science. Knowledge always has a dangerous side, you can use it for good, you can use it for ill."

    Nuclear power and nuclear weapons provided an example.

    Many people were suspicious of chemicals, forgetting that most of modern life would be impossible without developments in chemistry. This raised questions about the public's trust in science.

    She called upon the entire science community - including politicians and business leaders trained in science, the "invisible" scientists who made careers outside science, and researchers and teachers - to debate the future.

    She spoke of the "backlash" over genetically modified crops, and the potential alarm about the new science of nanotechnology, which deals with fabrics on the scale of millionths of a millimetre. More here

NanoBot Backgrounder
Please send fear in lieu of facts
Britain balances science, economics, perception
Bucky rage and 'imaginative commentators'

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