On Wednesday, April 12, Hobart and William Smith faculty and student scientists will host “Science Not Silence,” a panel discussion exploring the public role of science and scientists, the intersection of science and politics, and the rise in the U.S. public’s distrust of science.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Fisher Center, Demarest Hall Room 212. It comes in advance of the March for Science, a series of rallies and marches demonstrating support for science, to be held in more than 300 cities across the world on April 22.
“I hope that the audience will gain an understanding that scientists are and must be persuasive in their arguments. Many people, some scientists included, think that scientists must be neutral. But this isn’t true – scientists must be willing to argue and persuade based on evidence,” says Assistant Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown. “I also hope we’ll talk about issues such as science education, and the danger of living in a scientifically illiterate society. Finally, as a cultural psychologist, I hope I’ll get the chance to talk about how science can be and should be culturally sensitive and appropriate without diminishing it’s ability to establish truth and improve lives.”
The HWS panel, comprised of students and faculty from a range of departments, will consider questions such as: Is science political? How and in what way? Should scientists be neutral? What is the political role of science in a democracy? What are possible impacts of the current attack on science? What should non-scientist citizens understand about science and scientific research?
Panelists include HWS faculty: Ashdown; Assistant Professor of Physics Leslie Hebb; Associate Professor of Physics Steven Penn; and students Amy Feda ’17 and Shivam Tewari ’18, whose scientific backgrounds span biochemistry, biology, education, environmental studies, physics and psychology. Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean will moderate.