2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference


Physics, Politics and Pseudoscience: Safeguarding Science from Political Skepticism
Courtney E. Bonney
Dr. Ian Lindevald, Faculty Mentor

Physicists find interest in worlds other than the physical, be they spiritual, imaginative, or social. As the physics community steps into other realms and their associated crafts, it must find a way to maintain its reputation as a scientific discipline. The roles physicists play in public policy making reflect the approach each scientist takes toward his craft. This project investigates how physicists affect the social world by focusing on three scientific approaches: post-normal science, professional consultancy, and applied science. These approaches and their corresponding results in public policy making are explored through case studies which highlight both the positive and negative aspects of science in politics. In exposing these approaches to the physics and political community, it is argued that boundary organizations, such as the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), are needed to regulate physicists and politicians for the betterment of scientific research and its connection with the human environment.

Keywords: public policy, applied science, consultancy, supercollider, SSC, climate change, nuclear, post-normal science


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 28-4
Location: VH 1416
Time: 10:30 am

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