The 2006 Annual Midwest Regional Conference
"The Integrity of Science in the 21st Century"
The first of the Purdue Student Pugwash annual Midwest Regional Conference Series, “The Integrity of Science in the 21st Century” was a free and open event which brought many critical issues surrounding science and ethical conduct. As our technology improves and becomes increasingly part of our everyday lives the line between objective science and societal issues blur. Concern continues to grow that the integrity of science is being affected by political, religious, and financial motives. This conference was centered on some of the most controversial issues such as bioethics, scientific politics, and whistle blowing.
Dr. Arden Bement, National Science Foundation Director and Purdue Professor, was the conference keynote speaker. The entire event was held in Fowler hall and Dr. Bement spoke to a crowd of over 250 students and professors from all over the Midwest as well as many members of the greater Lafayette community. Purdue Student Pugwash raised over $13,000 for the conference almost entirely from Purdue University.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the National Science Foundation, will be the keynote speaker at a Purdue event that addresses questions about the ethics surrounding scientific and technological research.
The event is part of the Purdue University Student Pugwash Midwest Regional Conference "Integrity of Science in the 21st Century." The two-day event will take place March 31-April 1. Bement will speak from 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday (April 1) in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
In 2004, Bement was named director of the National Science Foundation, based in Arlington, Va. He joined the foundation after serving as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, based in Washington D.C. Prior to those appointments, he was the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue. While at Purdue, he was the director of the Midwest Superconductivity Consortium and the Consortium for the Intelligent Management of the Electrical Power Grid.
"One of our goals for this conference is to encourage discussion about global issues, specifically about the role of ethics in research," said Jonathan Braun, president of Purdue Pugwash. "Purdue is one of the top research universities in the nation, and we have about 220 members in our chapter of Pugwash."
Student Pugwash USA is a national organization that promotes open discussion on topics pertaining to science, technology and ethics. The organization was founded in 1957 by Albert Einstein and philosopher Bertrand Russell. Its mission is to focus on the ethical considerations scientists must face in their work. The Purdue student Pugwash chapter was founded in 1979. Pugwash received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for its efforts in raising awareness about the ethics of scientific research.
Bement is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also served as the director of the U.S. Office of Materials Science Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Previously, Bement was a professor of nuclear materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's Fuels and Materials Department and the Metallurgy Research Department at Battelle Science and Technology Laboratories in Columbus, Ohio; and a senior research associate for General Electric Co.
Other speakers at the event include:
- Normand Laurendeau, the Purdue Ralph and Bettye Bailey Professor of Combustion Engineering in mechanical engineering.
- Andrew Keeler, associate professor in the Ohio State University School of Public Policy and Management and the John Glenn Scholar in the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.
- Scott Wright, manager of business development for Proliance Energy Co. in Indianapolis.
- Peter T. Kissinger, chairman and CEO of Bioanalytical Systems Inc. and a Purdue professor of chemistry.
- David A. Sanders, associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue.
- Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
- Peter H. Meckl, Purdue associate professor in mechanical engineering.
- Christine Rovner, executive director of Student Pugwash USA, will conclude the event with a workshop for visiting students interested in establishing a Pugwash chapter at their respective universities.
The Purdue chapter of Student Pugwash USA has been on campus for 27 years, but this is the first year the Midwest conference has been held at Purdue.
Other universities involved in the Midwest Regional Conference are Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Northwestern University and the University of Northern Iowa.
"One of our goals is to encourage scientists and leaders to consider the repercussions of research in the early stages," said Ty Gray, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary engineering and philosophy at Purdue and a member of the Purdue Student Pugwash. "Having scientific leaders such as Arden Bement and the other speakers come to Purdue to discuss the ethics of scientific research will provide an excellent opportunity for our students, professors and the community."
The Purdue conference is sponsored by Student Pugwash USA; Purdue Office of the Provost; College of Engineering; College of Liberal Arts; College of Agriculture; Purdue Graduate School; the mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, aeronautics and astronautics engineering, electrical and computer engineering and chemical engineering schools; Department of Political Science; the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology in the College of Technology; and the Purdue University Alumni Association.