Those who pursue the study of science have created processes, tools and products that challenge and influence society and some of its belief systems, ethics and societal norms. In response, society debates and regulates science in order to prevent harmful developments and unacceptable outcomes, and to allow for new and beneficial products, processes and ideas. Science also can be affected by society, as well as governments, industry, economic interests and cultural perspectives.
- Science and society outlines how science serves society
Incidents, Events, and Science
Inquiry question: How do science-related events affect society’s view of science?
Investigate case studies of past events to consider how they have affected the public image of science, including but not limited to:
1.meltdowns of nuclear reactors
- A news article by the conversations that discusses public opinion and concerns around Nuclear reactors in Japan since the Fukushima accident.
- Public perception of nuclear energy. This article looks at the values the public has in America and how that affects development in nuclear power plant technologies.
development of the smallpox vaccine
- Edward Jenner and the history of the smallpox vaccine This essay discusses the history of the development of the smallpox vaccine
development of flight
- 1908 the year the aeroplane went public. An article that discusses the events around the time the first aeroplanes took flight in America.
- The first 10 years after successful aviation and its impacts on society and technological developments
positive and negative aspects of damming rivers
- To dam or not to dam? An article from the Australian Geographic explores the issues surrounding dams in Australia.
- Dams in Latin America and the social, economic and cultural impacts
General links about public perceptions of science
- Through biased lenses: The public perception of science has changed, but the new view is no better. This essay looks at the current challenges faced by science.
- What the public thinks and knows about science. This essay examines popular culture and how this affects the public opinion of science
- A TEDEd talk called: Why we must let science serve us. Let’s have a better conversation about strengthening the role of science in society to improve how science serves our communities. It starts by sharing science, not silence.
Regulation of Scientific Research
Inquiry question: Why is scientific research regulated?
Investigate the need for the regulation of scientific research in, for example:
- genetic modification of sex cells and embryos
- development of biotechnological weaponry
- testing of pharmaceuticals
- products and processes of the nuclear industry
- protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property
Investigate and assess ethical issues surrounding current scientific research in, for example:
- use of radiation
- pharmaceutical research
- gene manipulation in biotechnology
- mining practices
Investigate a range of international scientific codes of conduct in regard to scientific research and practice in the areas of, for example:
- stem cell research
- genetically modified foods
- transplantation of organs
- evaluate the effectiveness of international regulation in scientific research and practice
General links that address the point and enquiry question above
- Biotechnology: The Queensland Government has established regulations and codes of ethics to ensure scientific research in the state is carried out within a transparent and ethical environment.
- Information from the office of Genet technology Regulator and its roles and proposed outcomes to regulate genetically based therapies.
- How do we control dangerous biological research? This article examines the pressing need to regulate the biotechnology industry to reduce the likelihood of developing dangerous weapons.
- How therapeutic goods are regulated in Australia
- Pharmaceutical industry report. This is a very large reference, however, there are several sections relevant to the enquiry question above.
- This is an extensive database from the World Nuclear Association with many links about how nuclear research is regulated across the world.
- Information from the Arts Law Association of Australia about protecting Indigenous intellectual and cultural property.
- Bioprospecting report from the world health organisation investigates the various challenges when bioprospecting for new materials to use in research. This is from an Indonesian perspective.
- Biological diversity, bioprospecting and Indigenous Australians.A research paper into the issues around this.
- Mining leases and regulation from the NSW Department of planning and environment.
Influence of Economic, Social and Political Forces on Scientific Research
Inquiry question: How do economic, social and political influences affect scientific research?
Evaluate the costs involved in space exploration compared to investments in social issues, for example, poverty and human global food supply
Evaluate how scientific research aids economic development and human progress in relation to, for example:
- nuclear power generation
- use of antimicrobial drugs
- genetically modified foods
- use of petroleum products
- robotics and the use of drones
General links to this enquiry question
Evaluate the impacts of scientific research, devices and applications on world health and human well-being, including but not limited to:
- medical surgical devices
- surgical procedures
- water purification and wastewater treatment
- vaccination programs for the eradication of disease
- using examples, analyse the impacts that governments and large corporations have on scientific research, including but not limited to:
- corporations and market opportunities
- university research project budgets
- governmental budgets and limited time priorities
- benefit-sharing in research using ICIP
- evaluate how personal, cultural and socioeconomic perspectives can influence the direction of scientific research, for example:
- perceptions about diet in a multicultural society
- investigating traditional medical treatments
- mining practices