Living with the Genie: Governing Science and Technology in the 21st Century -
Convening on March 5-7, 2002, three hundred people met in Columbia's Low Library to discuss how, as a society, we can shape the governance of science and technology
to benefit society. Please feel free to browse the conference website http://www.livingwiththegenie.org to explore the contours of the conference and view
multimedia webcasts recorded during the discussions on March 5-7, 2002.
Extreme Events --
June 7-9, 2000
A workshop convened by Columbia University's Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes and the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, this workshop brought together a diverse set of experts to discuss the potential for an integrated approach to "extreme events." The goal of the workshop was to develop specific recommendations for a program of knowledge generation, dissemination, and application. The workshop included panel discussions of issues such as:
- Prediction and Uncertainty
- Vulnerability and Preparedness
- Communication, Decision Making, and Risk Assessment
- Monitoring and Observation
- Knowledge Integration
Visit the Extreme Events Workshop's site and view the Final Report of the conference at http://www.esig.ucar.edu/extremes/
Science The Endless Frontier 1945-1995 -- Since its publication in 1945, Vannevar Bush's report Science: The Endless Frontier has come to occupy a biblical status in science policy. On the day it was issued, the report was greeted by front page headlines in the New York Times. Since then it has been the subject of innumerable studies, reports, analyses and interpretations, studied as if it were the word of God, invoked to legitimate a wide range of sometimes contradictory science policy models, decisions, and priorities. The Bush Report is most often associated with a linear and unidirectional model of knowledge creation and application, where lone researchers work at the frontiers of science to provide the intellectual grist for societal progress. From this perspective, Science: The Endless Frontier has often been interpreted as a pillar of support for the prerogatives of fundamental and unfettered research. Yet Vannevar Bush was an engineer with a keen appreciation for the complexities of the innovation process, and others have seen his report as a clear assertion of the close and necessary links between fundamental investigation and practical application. Despite its Rorschach quality, all would probably agree that the report was intended to be a blueprint for a new era of science-and of government in science-following the transformational experience of World War II and its technological culmination in the detonation of two atomic bombs over Japan.
Since Science: The Endless Frontier was issued, the context for U.S. science policy has evolved, with the end of the Cold War in particular demanding a careful reconsideration of the meaning, relevance, and implications of Bush's ideas. In response to this changing context, Columbia University organized what might be thought of as a Vatican Council for science policy, an ambitious exploration of the historical, present, and future implications of Bush's seminal work at the time of its 50th anniversary.
Three conferences were held, on December 9, 1994, June 9, 1995, and September 21-22, 1996. Fifty-three leading scholars, practitioners, and observers of science policy made formal presentations addressing an extraordinarily broad range of issues-testimony to the impact and influence of science on modern society, and of the Bush Report on science.
CSPO has now edited and made available for the first time highlights from the conference and the entire transcript.
Even in the several years since the three conferences were held, the context for science policy has continued to change. What may seem, from the perspective of the year 2000, like an irrational despondency in several of the presentations, has given way to the irrational exuberance of the dot-com world. Budget deficits of the mid-1990s have been replaced by budget surpluses, economic expansion has persisted at historically unprecedented rates, and the texture of society has tangibly evolved under the influence of transformational innovations in information technologies and molecular genetics. So soon after the conferences were held, these presentations, which shed so much light on the Bush legacy, seem themselves to capture a moment in history. In doing so, they vividly illustrate the need to design science policies that are themselves flexible and adaptive-policies that allow the world to continue to benefit from science, even as science continues to change the world.
Click here to access the "Bush Conference" highlights and transcripts.