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STS.011 American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices, Fall 2004

Photo of graphite research reactor workers removing contaminate soil.
Graphite research reactor workers removing contaminate soil from beneath the south below-ground duct expansion joint #4, Brookhaven National Laboratories, Upton, NY.  (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.)

Highlights of this Course

This course features a full set of assignments with examples of student work, a bibliography of all readings, and a related resources section.

Course Description

This course explores the changing roles, ethical conflicts, and public perceptions of science and scientists in American society from World War II to the present. The class examines specific historical episodes focusing on debates between scientists and the contextual factors influencing their opinions and decisions. Topics include the atomic bomb project, environmental controversies, the Challenger disaster, biomedical research, genetic engineering, use/misuse of human subjects, scientific misconduct, and whistleblowing.


Prof. Hugh Gusterson

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2 hours / session

One session / week
1 hour / session




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