- ACS Governance Luncheon: Role of Chemistry in Society
Friday, October 21st, 12–1:30 pm, in the Matterhorn Room
Watch a video of this round-table discussion
The event featured a distinguished panel led by ACS President-elect Bassam Z Shakhashiri, and featuring Chancellor Mark Wrighton of Washington University in Saint Louis, Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift of Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, and Dr Susan Fitzpatrick, Vice President of the James S McDonnell Foundation.
We live in the most advanced scientific and technological society in history. New discoveries have led to improvements and benefits in our daily lives, but also to new societal problems. It is through chemistry that we can make major contributions to improve the quality of life in America and to advance the human condition around the globe. Chemistry is the key to eradicating disease and reducing poverty. Chemical research and technology can provide clean water and nutritious food, meet energy demands, and help lead to sustainable development everywhere.
Chemistry brings a wide range of goods and functions to everyone and thus is vital to our democracy. Science literacy is necessary for the democratic process to work. By science literacy I mean an appreciation of science, an understanding of the benefits of technology and the potential rewards and risks associated with advances in both, as well as recognition of what science is capable of achieving and what it cannot accomplish. Science literacy enlightens and enables people to make informed choices; to be skeptical; to reject shams, quackery, and unproven conjecture; and to avoid being bamboozled into making foolish decisions where matters of science and technology are concerned. Science literacy is for everyone-chemists, artists, humanists, all professionals, the general public, youth and adults alike. The level of science literacy in any society is a measure of what it values and its resolve to put these values into practice.
Washington University Chancellor
Mark S Wrighton