A conversation with a Nobel Prize winner: Science, Society & Education
When: Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Where: Raytheon Amphitheatre, Egan Research Center
Speaker: Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate
What: A Nobel Prize Winner Discussses Science, Society, and Education
We have reached a watershed in that the human race now confronts a set of crises significantly more serious than any previously. These threats can only be overcome by an open minded liberal education of the next generation of young people.
A liberal/ democratic socio-political environment may be a necessary condition for flourishing creativity in the sciences and the arts. In Europe, this was first manifested in the Enlightenment when Galileo, Copernicus and others laid the foundations for science and an evidence-based natural philosophy. For example, the importance of intellectual and personal freedom for humanitarian advances is clearly manifested in the success of the sciences in conquering humanitarian problems from starvation and disease and in creating technologies that make modern life relatively pleasant for many. One downside has been a reckless thirst to exploit the vast powers of the sciences to construct ever more powerful destructive weapons.
Science is the only philosophical construct we have devised to determine Truth with any degree of reliability. As such, Science should be a primary ethical focus for the education of every child, student and citizen so at the very least they can decide whether what they are being told is actually true. This is also a strong intellectual basis for fostering creativity.
For a truly humanitarian global society to evolve, science education and equality of opportunity and personal freedom will be necessary for all young people whatever their sex, race, colour, or nationality.
Bio: Sir Harold Kroto, FRS is the English chemist who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley. Kroto is the Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at the Florida State University, which he joined in 2004. Prior to that, he spent a large part of his career at the University of Sussex, where he now holds an emeritus professorship.