Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

GW students discuss science and technologyat Pugwash conference

Students and professors from universities worldwide visited GW to discuss the ethical implications of scientific and technological advancement in the 21st century during the national Student Pugwash U.S.A. conference this weekend.

Pugwash is an organization that emphasizes socially responsible applications of science and technology, said Anna Moden, associate director of SPUSA.

GW Pugwash member Julie Desai, a graduate student in the School of Public Health, said she enjoyed the conference because differing viewpoints of ethics in technology and science were presented.

That is what is so great about Pugwash, she said. It’s not a group that advocates a certain message or way of thinking, it is open to free discussion and debate.

The Ninth National Conference on Science and Social Responsibility drew members of GW’s SPUSA chapter as well as students and faculty from other universities, including Princeton and Stanford universities University of California at Berkley, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Cordoba in Argentina. Students and faculty members at the conference attended panel discussions and lectures.

Bob Harris, an official at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Carol Werner, the Energy and Climate Program director from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, discussed the use of ethanol fuel, or biomass energy, to reduce air pollution and particle emission into the atmosphere.

In another session Lisa Hagerty, an expert on weapons of mass destruction, and Steve Goldstein, a correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, discussed the possibility of terrorists acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. spends money and resources to deter the threat of terrorism, said Hagerty, who serves as National Security Council director of Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness.

Goldstein said society has become ultra-sensitized to terrorism and said arguments that the U.S. should spend more money to combat global terrorism are unsubstantiated.

Sorry this is not `Crossfire,’ Goldstein said to an audience member who requested that Goldstein and Hagerty debate their opposing views.

Working groups comprised of roughly 30 students discussed six themes, including the future of science, communication in the 21st century, genetics, biotechnology, human rights and terrorism.

There has been extremely interesting and engaging discussion on these topics, GW Pugwash member Gary Sun said.

Conference attendees dressed in costumes representing ethical dilemmas at a Halloween costume party in Mitchell Hall’s theater after the weekend of discussion. Costumes included genetically engineered mice and vegetarian vampires.

GW seniors Yuuko Taoka and Purvi Gala said they appreciated the diversity of participants, who came from as far away as Argentina and the United Kingdom to discuss global issues.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet