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Dangerous Science: Science Policy and Risk Analysis for Scientists and Engineers

Creative Commons  License: Attribution-CC-BY


The public is generally enthusiastic about the latest science and technology, but sometimes research threatens the physical safety or ethical norms of society. When this happens, scientists and engineers can find themselves unprepared in the midst of an intense science policy debate. In the absence of convincing evidence, technological optimists and skeptics struggle to find common values on which to build consensus. The best way to avoid these situations is to sidestep the instigating controversy by using a broad risk-benefit assessment as a risk exploration tool to help scientists and engineers design experiments and technologies that accomplish intended goals while avoiding physical or moral dangers.

The primary audience for this book is science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students. Standard training in the responsible conduct of research focuses on the research and publication process—treatment of test subjects, falsification of data, plagiarism, etc.—while largely ignoring the potential dangers to the public beyond the laboratory. This book helps to fill that gap in research ethics education. The book may also be of value in a course on bioethics, philosophy of science, or science and technology studies.

Dangerous Science explores the intersection of science policy and risk analysis to detail failures in current science policy practices and what can be done to help minimize the negative impacts of science and technology on society.

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Case Study: H5N1 Influenza Research Debate

Assessing the Benefits of Research

Values in Risk Assessment

Technological Risk Attitudes in Science Policy

Managing Dangerous Science




Daniel Rozell

Daniel J. Rozell is an engineer and scientist affiliated with the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University.