What Scientists Can Do To Fight The Frankenstein Myth

In his comments at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) two weeks ago, President Bill Clinton echoed a refrain from his State of the Union address in which he tempered his enthusiasm for scientific progress with a call to "see that science serves humanity, and not the other way around." This disquieting sentiment-that science, like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, is poised to wreak havoc on its creator-has a currency today that should alarm us as scie

Mildred Dresselhaus
Mar 1, 1998

In his comments at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) two weeks ago, President Bill Clinton echoed a refrain from his State of the Union address in which he tempered his enthusiasm for scientific progress with a call to "see that science serves humanity, and not the other way around." This disquieting sentiment-that science, like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, is poised to wreak havoc on its creator-has a currency today that should alarm us as scientists. More than alarm us, it should spur us to action.

Yes, it is vitally important that science and technology serve humanity. But this can occur only in an atmosphere of hope and trust rather than suspicion and fear.

AAAS, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, has always advocated an open dialogue between scientists and the rest of society so as to-in the words of Joseph Henry, AAAS...

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