Pride: Flying Cars and Other Broken Promises
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Society has often looked to science to create a utopian future free of worry and disease and full of gadgets and toys. While some promises have come true—tablet computers, miracle cures, and commercial space flight, to name just a few—most of the earth's population doesn't live in the world promised by optimistic scientists of the past.
Scientific American's George Musser moderates this panel where Dr. Greg Benford and Dr. Stuart Firestein examine why scientists are so bad at predicting the impact of their work, and theology professor Dr. Christiana Peppard explores the ethical side of scientific false promises.
Join the Academy and the Center for Inquiry as we explore the world that never was, the world that may someday be, and what scientists can do to better manage our expectations of the future.
Reception and book signing to follow.
This event is part of the Science and the Seven Deadly Sins Series
In this series we're looking at some of the ways the Seven Deadly Since show up in the sciences. To do that, we're bringing together top scientists, authors, chefs, urban planners, and many others to help us explore our baser nature. Each event will feature indulgent receptions afterwards, as well as opportunities for you to interact with the speakers and one another. Join us for this vice-ridden round of events!
• Wrath Goes Viral, Oct 17, 2012
• Pride: Flying Cars and other Broken Promises, Nov 28, 2012
• Greed: Willing to Do Anything, Dec 11, 2012
• Lust and Love in the Animal Kingdom, Feb 12, 2013
• Sloth: Is Your City Making You Fat?, Mar 13, 2013
• Envy: The Cutthroat Side of Science, Apr 30, 2013
• Gluttony: Deconstructing Dinner, May 23, 2013
Learn more about the series here.
George Musser is a contributing editor at Scientific American. His primary focus is space science, ranging from particles to planets to parallel universes. Musser completed his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering and mathematics at Brown University and his graduate studies in planetary science at Cornell University, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Prior to joining Scientific American, Musser served as editor of Mercury magazine and of The Universe in the Classroom tutorial series for K–12 teachers at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a science and science-education nonprofit based in San Francisco. He is also the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory." Musser has won numerous awards in his career, including the 2011 American Institute of Physics's Science Writing Award. He coordinated a special issue on sustainable development, "Crossroads for Planet Earth," which won a Global Media Award from the Population Institute and was a National Magazine Award finalist.
Gregory Benford, PhD
University of California
Gregory Benford is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, where he has been a faculty member since 1971. Benford conducts research in plasma turbulence theory and experiment, and in astrophysics. He has published well over a hundred papers in fields of physics from condensed matter, particle physics, plasmas and mathematical physics, and several in biological conservation. Benford is the author of over twenty novels, including Jupiter Project, Artifact, Against Infinity, Eater, and Timescape. A two-time winner of the Nebula Award, Benford has also won the John W. Campbell Award, the Australian Ditmar Award, the 1995 Lord Foundation Award for achievement in the sciences, and the 1990 United Nations Medal in Literature.
Stuart Firestein, PhD
Dr. Stuart Firestein is the Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences where his colleagues and he study the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. His laboratory seeks to answer that fundamental human question: How do I smell? Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience Firestein serves as an adviser for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's program for the Public Understanding of Science. Recently he was awarded the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. His book on the workings of science for a general audience called Ignorance, How it drives Science was released by Oxford University Press this Spring.
Christiana Peppard, PhD
Christiana Z. Peppard is Assistant Professor of Theology & Science in the Department of Theology at Fordham University, Lincoln Center campus. Her current research and book projects focus on (1) valuing fresh water in an era of economic globalization; (2) the value of water and the Catholic imagination; and (3) points of divergence and convergence in the concept of nature through scientific, theological, environmental, and ethical lenses. Dr. Peppard received her PhD from Yale University (2011, with distinction), an MAR in Ethics from Yale Divinity School (2005), and a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University (2001). Her dissertation, "Valuing Water," explores the ascription of value to fresh water in an era of economic globalization and charts a fresh water ethic from resources in moral anthropology and Catholic social teaching.
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