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Advancing Science

December 8, 2015 - 4:00pm
Speaker: 
Rush Holt
Institution: 
AAAS

Among the various ways of thinking and knowing about the universe and ourselves, science is special. Asking questions that can be answered empirically and engaging in open communication so that others can collectively review and verify possible answers lead to the most reliable knowledge—a knowledge that is powerfully applicable in daily life. Science is, as physician and essayist Lewis Thomas wrote, the “shrewdest maneuver” for discovering the world. This grand and clever enterprise, while surely not removing all worldly woes, brings beauty, wonderfully fulfilling intellectual pleasure, and cultural enrichment. It can lead to improved human interaction, more constructive commerce, and a better quality of life. Science helps bring what is a deep human need—a sense of progress. That progress is not assured, however. To thrive, science needs the support of the society it serves, and that support must be cultivated.

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