October 6th, 2010
Slow Science? Fast Science? How Pace Matters in Science
October 6, 2010, 4:30-6:30
Engineering 2, 599
A brief perusal of key scientific journals and science policy documents reveals that questions about how fast science can produce new knowledge and innovation has become a widely acknowledged concern. Scientists promise to be close to breakthroughs, policy makers argue that “we” need to win the “science race” in order that rising powers such as India or China not outpace “us,” and the media asks when science will finally deliver cures and remedies for the ills of the world. For the most part, the inherently beneficial character of producing knowledge in a fast paced manner goes undoubted. Criticism is often easily dismissed as a rejection of scientific advance. However, a more fine-grained engagement with the meanings and effects of ever faster- paced modes of research processes might yield a more complex picture. Instead of operating within binary categories of embracing or rejecting scientific progress, this Science & Justice Working Group meeting aimed at exploring the multiple levels on which the pace of science becomes meaningful: How does it influence the lives of scientists and their practices of working? How do expectations about the speed of knowledge production influence the questions asked and the forms of knowledge produced? Which social and ethical issues do different paces of science address and eclipse? What kind of response and response-abilities are possible in research cultures that encourage constant acceleration of the pace of new knowledge and innovation?
The event brought together different disciplinary and experiential perspectives to identify potential issues linked to different tempos of knowledge production.
Ruth Mueller, Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna, Austria
Thom Van Dooren, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Risto Sarvas, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
Mark Diekhans, UCSC Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering