Science, Technology and Public Policy

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Science, Technology and Public Policy
Special Course
Course CodeSPUB
Year Opened2013
Sites OfferedPRN
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2017):

Governments around the world must wrestle with crucial questions about how their policies affect science and technology and, in turn, how advances in science and technology affect their domestic and international affairs. Is global climate change a real concern, and, if so, how can it be slowed without disrupting economic activity? Is funding fetal stem cell research in an effort to cure diseases ethical? Should we spend vast sums to build the enormous particle accelerators required to make the next great advances in physics? How should scarce vaccines be distributed to prevent a possible epidemic? Answering these questions requires an interdisciplinary knowledge of science, philosophy, political science, and public policy.

In this course, students explore the nexus of science and public policy. They investigate the tools and methods policy analysts and science advisors use to assess these issues. They learn about how governments solicit expertise, determine funding, and regulate science research and technological industries. Students then work through a number of real-life case studies. They take on the role of government policy makers, deciding, for example, whether to build a new nuclear power plant and how to dispose of the radioactive waste, whether to invest in space exploration, or whether to require costly prenatal testing for birth defects. Students leave with an understanding of how science and technology affect national agendas and the public interest.

Sessions Past

SPUB 2k19 of Session 1 quickly became the greatest class in the history of classes. Consisting of members such as Ron Gneezy, Leo and David Antonevich, the absolutely legendary Waluigi clone called Andy Truss (god of Outback Steakhouse himself), Ryan Vuono, Annabel Coplan, and several others who would make this list too long, totaling at 15 students. Taught by TA Allegra Kuney and the ever so amazing Instructor Dr. Hang Ryeol "Always Hot" Na, this class engaged in some of the most brain hurting reading in human history, which somehow led to some semi-logical discussions. Thanks to the combination of Andy's jokes and Dr. Na's singing, alongside frisbee-based antics during breaks, this class managed to bring some of the most enjoyment imaginable. Many brain cells were lost to reading, many more gained in discussions, Ron never put down his phone, and it all culminated with a series of presentations on the final Thursday. Ultimately, the heart breaking realization of the end of this class hit everybody very hard, and some of the most heartfelt goodbyes were had between members of this class, many of who were on either their first or second years, nearly all on their last.