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Conference to Explore The Rightful Place of Science

In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama promised to restore science to its rightful place in U.S. society. But where is that place? How do we find it in an ever more complex, uncertain, and politically, socially and culturally diverse world?

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Great challenges loom before us, wrought by rapid and continuing social change and catalyzed by discovery and innovation. The transformative potential of science and technology tests our ability to understand and shape our common destiny. We are at once utterly dependent on science and technology and yet equally unprepared to govern the implications of that dependence. In his inaugural address, President Barak Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place” in U.S. society. But where is that place? How do we find it in an ever more complex, uncertain, and politically, socially and culturally diverse world? And is the rightful place of science also the place that assures the best outcomes for all of us? 

The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University will bring scientists, scholars, decision makers and the public together to address these questions and the way forward at its conference “The Rightful Place of Science?” at the Tempe, Arizona, Mission Palms Hotel, May 16-19, 2010. Online registration is available at cspo.org/conference2010. The conference will feature an uncommon mix of perspectives from such speakers as Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican; Gina Kolata, science writer at The New York Times; and Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. 
 
Conference attendees will explore – amid art, music, literature, media, humor and more – the place of science and technology in society and how, in turn, society can best deal with the perpetually unfolding implications of its own ingenuity. The goal of the conference is to build a strengthened community of engaged scholars, practitioners and citizens committed to ongoing discussions, research, education and action aimed at harnessing science and technology to the core values of a democratic society.
 
Program
 
In addition to provocative keynote speakers, discussion sessions will be held with six exemplary leaders who have developed powerful, innovative approaches to managing the promises and complexities of science and technology, including Margaret Davidson, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center; Susan Fitzpatrick, vice president of the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Richard Jefferson, chief executive officer of Cambia in Canberra, Australia; Shirley Laska, professor emerita of sociology at the University of New Orleans’ Center for Hazards Assessment, Response & Technology; Ramesh Singh, chief executive of ActionAid International in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Neal Woodbury, deputy director and chief scientist of the Biodesign Institute and professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University.
 
The conference will feature additional opportunities each day for discussion: Table Top Salons – roundtables where attendees provide the topics and lead the discussions; presentations by and discussions with the next generation of policy scholars, practitioners and science communicators, who will be participating in separate workshops funded by the National Science Foundation; and ample opportunities each day to continue informal dialogue during breaks and receptions. Attendees also will enjoy the conference ambience created through art, music, dance, media and the unexpected.
 
Attendees also may choose to register for a variety of optional field trips before the conference opens and after it closes. Destinations include: the Titan Missile Museum and the 18th century San Xavier del Bac Mission; Arcosanti and Montezuma Castle; the Center for Innovations in Medicine at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, where participants will contribute to the immunosignature diagnostics project; the cryonics facility Alcor Life Extension Foundation; Arizona Public Service’s Solar Test and Research Center; several of Arizona’s water canals and dams; and a home-grown biofuels cooperative.
 
Next Generation Workshops
Concurrent with The Rightful Place of Science?, CSPO is conducting workshops for the Next Generation of Science and Technology Leaders and Next Generation of Science Communicators. These workshops, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, aim to build a community of science policy scholars and communicators who can span the terrains of intellectual inquiry and real-world practice. Participants will meet with editors and present at roundtable sessions throughout the conference on topics organized by CSPO's program areas: Responsible Innovation; Sustainability and Adaptability; Science, Technology and Global Affairs; Technological Systems and Infrastructures; Healthy and Just Societies; and Securing Our Common Future.
 
The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University is an interdisciplinary intellectual network aimed at enhancing the contribution of science and technology to society's pursuit of equality, justice, freedom and overall quality of life. CSPO creates knowledge and methods, educates students, cultivates public discourse and fosters policies to help decision makers and institutions grapple with the immense power and importance of science and technology as society charts a course for the future. 
 
For more information about “The Rightful Place of Science?” or to register for the conference, visit online at http://www.cspo.org/conference2010, send an e-mail to cspo@asu.edu, or call (480) 727-8787. For more information about the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, visit http://www.cspo.org.
 
Source: Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes