by Steven Burgess
Ultimately scientists wish to make an impact on the world, be that discover fundamental information about how the world works, create a drugs to treat disease or make novel products for commercialization. Making an impact means interacting with people outside one’s immediate scientific community. Social scientists such as Andy Balmer investigate the ways in which scientists interact with society and they play a vital role in educating the next generation in good practices. On Andy’s blog he has recently published an article about ‘three questions that natural scientists and engineers often ask’ social scientists including:
1.why do people not like X (e.g. synthetic food additives)?
2.what will people think of X (e.g. brain-based lie detection)?
3. is it okay to do X (e.g. engineer life)?
The answers are relevant to us all, to find out more keep reading: Three Questions I get Asked – @AndyBalmer
Dr Andy Balmer is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, he has a variety of interests including understanding the societal implications of synthetic biology research and practice. He has previously written excellent pieces designed to help iGEM participants think about the implications of their research, they are well worth a read as the lessons are true for any scientist!