Ivory Bridges: Connecting Science and Society by Gerhard Sonnert

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Author
Gerhard Sonnert
Publisher
Mit Press
Date of release
Pages
0
ISBN
9780262194716
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
4
53

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Book review

According to a widespread stereotype, scientists occupy an ivory tower, isolated fromother parts of society. To some extent this is true, and the resulting freedom to pursuecuriosity-driven research has made possible extraordinary scientific advances. The spinoffs of"pure" science, however, have also had powerful impacts on society, and the potential for futureimpacts is even greater.The public and many policymakers, as well as many researchers, have paidinsufficient attention to the mechanisms for interchange between science and society that havedeveloped since World War II. Ivory Bridges examines two such mechanisms: governmental sciencepolicy (often involving the participation of "scientist administrators") and scientists' voluntarypublic-interest associations.The examination of science policy is guided by the notion of"Jeffersonian science" -- -defined as basic research on topics identified as being in the nationalinterest. The book illustrates the concept with a historical case study of the Press-CarterInitiative of the late 1970s and proposes that a Jeffersonian approach would make a valuableaddition to future science policy. The book also looks at the activities of citizen-scientists whohave organized themselves to promote the welfare of society. It shows that their numerous anddiverse organizations have made major contributions to the commonweal and that they have helped toprevent science from becoming either too subservient to government or too autonomous. An extensiveappendix profiles a wide variety of these organizations.


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