by: Peter D. Blair
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
The following is the proceedings for the 10th Sigma Xi Forum, New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on November 9-10, 2000, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society. As breathtaking scientific progress in the past several years has delivered, for example, the map of the human genome and a host of information security and privacy issues, the 2000 Sigma Xi Forum addressed a complex dimension of the societal implications of such developments, namely an array of new ethical challenges facing the science and technology enterprise. It was one of the most interesting and provocative programs we’ve offered in our forum series, with a splendid array of plenary talks and panel discussions.
This is the first time Sigma Xi has published a full forum proceedings on the World Wide Web. Plenary talks and breakout session remarks are being posted as they become available, and we invite you to visit the site often for updates. We also plan to produce a printed proceedings volume later this spring, which will be sent to all forum participants and will be available to Sigma Xi members and the general public through the Society’s administrative offices.
Also, all of the plenary talks and one breakout session, on "Intellectual Freedom and the National Laboratories," were Web-cast during the forum and are available for viewing in a digital archive through the following link: 2000 Sigma Xi Forum Video Archive.
Let me thank our forum co-sponsors: the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Sandia Corporation. Special thanks also go to the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Highlands University chapters of Sigma Xi and to the steering committee members who helped recruit an outstanding set of speakers. The committee members were John C. Cummings, Peggy L. Fischer, Beverly K. Hartline, Peggie J. Hollingsworth, John P. Perhonis, John W. Prados and Robert W. Vallario. Finally, let me thank the Sigma Xi staff who worked so hard in fashioning this program, and especially John Ahearne, director of ethics programs for Sigma Xi, who was a guiding force in putting this forum together.
Sigma Xi was founded as the honor society for science and engineering, and ethics in research has been a primary focus for more than 100 years, so the 2000 Forum was particularly timely and a point of departure for related activities under the aegis of the developing Sigma Xi Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. We have visited some of these issues before, in one form or another, and no doubt will visit them again in the years ahead. We at Sigma Xi are pleased to add this report of the 2000 Sigma Xi Forum, New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology, to the growing literature in this fast-paced field.
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