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.
CiQUS researchers design an artificial nose to detect DNA differentiation with single nucleotide resolution September 18th, 2014
New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014
Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014
Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 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
Chicago Awareness Organization First Not-for-Profit to Sponsor Dog Training to Detect Ovarian Cancer Odorants December 12th, 2013
ZEISS Microscopes used to create images for Art Exhibit at Midway Airport: Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology October 25th, 2013