Public still suspicious of scientists
‘Our arrogance cost us the GM debate’ is the message to academics and business delegates at the White Rose Bioscience Forum today (Tuesday 31 October).
Director of the University of Sheffield Polymer Centre and ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry, Tony Ryan, will tell delegates that the scientific and business community should have responded better to public concerns over genetic engineering, instead of ‘patting them on the head and saying there was nothing to worry about’.
“The relationship between science, engineering and society is a difficult one, and the public are often suspicious,” says Professor Ryan. “This was the case with GM, but our mismanagement meant we lost the debate to activists only interested in single issue politics and now we’re paying the price. So many advances that could have brought great benefit to society have been stopped in their tracks.”
As well as criticising scientists and business people for past mistakes, Professor Ryan will also be highlighting the important contribution bioscience can – and must - make in the future.
“Our lives are enriched every day by the great discoveries made by scientists,” he says. “But it will all matter for nothing unless we solve the most important issue facing the world – the energy crisis. And bioscience holds the key.”
“We need to stop burning buried sunshine and instead learn, from biology, how to capture energy directly from the sun and convert it into energy we can use.”
But bioscience can’t help to save the world without communicating with it, so Professor Ryan will also be calling on the science and business community to learn from past mistakes and relate better with the public.
“We need to engage in dialogue and really listen when people say they aren’t happy. There are going to be some tough issues ahead and we need to be taking part in the debates and getting our point across in the right way,” he says.
Professor Ryan – who was recently awarded an OBE for ‘Services to Science’ – is the after-dinner speaker at the Yorkshire Bioscience Forum.
Jo Kelly | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...