In the past few years I have perceived an increased anti-science sentiment especially in the press—in the United States and other nations. Despite a spectacular history of medical miracles, labor-saving devices and new knowledge being delivered up by scientists and engineers, both the public and the press nowadays seem as likely to fear scientific contributions as to welcome them.

Certainly the development and use of the atomic bomb and the incidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have instilled in many a profound ambivalence or anxiety about the work of scientists. Those conducting animal experimentation and gene re search are subject to outright condemnation, as are the scientists who have developed drugs or products that have an unforeseen and devastating impact on users. Toxic waste from industrial production such as the Rhine spill and unsafe pesticides have also tainted the reputation of science. More recently, the Challenger disaster and subsequent...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!