Sarah: Kristin’s post of a few days ago highlighted the value of teaching science and technology (in the form of AccessNano) in context and with relevance to daily life. An article in the Higher Education section of today’s Australian was in the same vein: that science cannot exist on its own, and must be integrated into a broader vision encompassing the humanities and social sciences. In its submission on this subject to the UK’s Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, The British Academy stated
‘Scientific and technological advances often have political, social and cultural implications (that) can be fully understood (only) if all disciplines are able to work together’ .
A few examples immediately spring to my mind:
- Nanotechnology – controlling, manipulating and creating matter on the nanoscale;
- Technologies relating to reproduction – In Vitro Fertilisation, saving extremely premature babies;
- Genetic technologies which allow cross-species transfer of genes eg animals to humans, plant to plant; and
- Enhanced surgical techniques which allow face and limb transplants.
Yes, we can do all these things from a scientific and medical point of view. But how can we integrate the new science into day-to-day life, so that all of us (scientists and non-scientists alike) can appreciate the issues and implications? Any thoughts?