PUBPOL 481: Science, Technology, and Public Policy

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Winter 2010
Credit Hours

The aim of this lecture course is to introduce students to the manner in which science and technology issues both shape and are shaped by public policy. Issues such as global climate change, energy sustainability, human genomics, and exponentially evolving technologies (e.g, info-, bio-, and nano-) are among the most challenging and complex facing contemporary society. The course will review the historical role of national science policy in addressing the health, welfare, and security needs of the nation, and will provide an organizational map to help the reader better understand how the federal government develops and executes its science policy and why it funds science. It will explore how universities, national laboratories, and industry partner with the federal government to carry out scientific research, and why states are developing their own scientific and technological support structures. The course will examine the interactions between the scientific community and policymakers, and the grand challenges that face science and society, including environmental preservation, advances in new technologies, transportation, power generation, and prevention and cure of diseases. The urgency of strengthening these interactions in order to meet such significant scientific and technical challenges will be explored. The course is intended for a broad spectrum of upper division undergraduate students, both from science-based and non-science majors.