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The Great Debate at Newcastle Science Festival 2004

Playing it Safe: Science and the Risk Society

Wednesday 17th March 2004, 7pm

International Centre for Life
Newcastle upon Tyne
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Convened by: David O'Toole and Jon Bryan

Chair: David O'Toole

Professor Roy Boyne, author Risk (Concepts in the Social Sciences), Subject, Society and Culture
John Gillott, co-author Science and the Retreat from Reason
Professor Lynn Frewer, Chair of Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour at the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group, Wageningen University
Phil Macnaghten, co-author Contested Natures (Theory, Culture & Society)

Is there a case for caution where the outcome of scientific
and technological advances is uncertain?

Lynn Frewer, Phil Macnaghton, 
John Gillott, Roy Boyne
(Clockwise from top left) It is hard to believe that only a short time ago the benefits of scientific progress were taken for granted. Yet today, from nanotechnology to genetic engineering, from the Internet to the mobile phone, the tendency is to consider the risks whenever a new technology is developed. The precautionary principle urges us to err on the side of caution when knowledge is uncertain, to consider the environment and to place a duty of care on those who propose change. What are the consequences of this new way of looking at the world? Is it possible to benefit from science without taking risks? What are the dangers of playing it safe?

This session will examine risk, science and society and their relationship to ideas such as the precautionary principle. Come along, hear the arguments and have your say.

An Interview with Roy Boyne by Jon Bryan

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Buy these books from Amazon
Contested Natures Risk (Concepts in the Social Sciences) Risk and Modern Society
Science and the Retreat from Reason
Culture of Fear

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