We Need To See And Teach Science's Historical Context

How can today's students enthusiastically claim science as their career choice when they keep seeing science and scientists negatively portrayed in the mass media? And how can we deny that science deserves some of its bad reputation? After all, it is science that has brought the world materials that now cause environmental pollution and made possible the engines of modern war. But if we are to rescue our world from a new Dark Ages of ignorance and chaos, then our profession must convince brigh

Otto Theodor Benfey
Dec 9, 1990
How can today's students enthusiastically claim science as their career choice when they keep seeing science and scientists negatively portrayed in the mass media? And how can we deny that science deserves some of its bad reputation? After all, it is science that has brought the world materials that now cause environmental pollution and made possible the engines of modern war.

But if we are to rescue our world from a new Dark Ages of ignorance and chaos, then our profession must convince bright and thoughtful young people to join its ranks in the 21st century. To do that, a vastly increased awareness of science's historical and cultural context is needed. Students must be shown how they, as scientists, might help counter the evils wrought by science, often unwittingly, in the past. They need to be assured that scientists are not Frankensteins, that the scientific professions and industries demand conscientious,...