Home > News > Public Distrust of Science Made Cambridge the Biotech Capital of the World
July 7th, 2007
Public Distrust of Science Made Cambridge the Biotech Capital of the World
The specter of submitting their work to public examination can be scary to researchers in controversial fields like biotechnology and nanotechnology. They worry that scientific illiteracy and fearmongering will hijack any meaningful dialogue. But as the history of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows, involving the public can actually improve science.
Back in the 1970's, when scientists refined techniques of DNA manipulation, a lot of people worried that bench-altered bugs would escape labs and infect people. (It wasn't just the untrained public who feared this, but quite a few scientists, too.)
In Cambridge -- location of Harvard, MIT and other renowned research universities -- a national debate became local. Harvard proposed turning a nearby lab into a high-security facility for potentially dangerous research; Harvard faculty and members of the public declared their alarm, arguing that a decision that could affect the entire community deserved to be made by the community; and the city held public hearings.
Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers
Iranian Experts Clean Uranium-Contaminated Water by Nano-Particles November 23rd, 2014
Novel Method Found for Connection of Metallic Alloys to Polymers November 23rd, 2014
NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014
Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014
Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting November 5th, 2014
Iran-Made Respiratory Nano Masks Provided to Hajj Pilgrims October 23rd, 2014
Japanese gold leaf artists worked on a nano-scale: Study demonstrates X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a non-destructive way to date artwork July 3rd, 2014
Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks: A real possibility next Christmas? Forget socks and shaving foam, the big kids of tomorrow want an invisible cloak for Christmas December 19th, 2013