Academic

Posts of interests to the academic community

The use and abuse of science and technology: rethinking dual-use

For over a decade now, I have be rolling around the concept of dual-use in my research, much like how a kitten plays with a fluff ball in the sunbeams of a room. What is the term? I’m mildly interested in it, though it might appear to some others that it’s all I focus on. I like rolling it around, batting it about to see how it will react. I… Read More »The use and abuse of science and technology: rethinking dual-use

This is not your father’s biosecurity: Experiments in novel security governance at the edge of innovation

I spent this week in Fukuoka, Japan at the World Social Science Forum, a gathering of national and international science academies and other research and professional bodies. At the invitation of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), I gave a talk on several experiments in biosecurity governance that are going on: the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition, the FBI’s Biological Countermeasures Unit, and various efforts around the governance of gene drives.… Read More »This is not your father’s biosecurity: Experiments in novel security governance at the edge of innovation

Course Syllabus:: Making Security: Science, Technology, and the Governance of Threats

This summer, I am a Guest Professor at the University of Vienna’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society. I’ll be teaching a course called, “Making Security: Science, Technology, and the Governance of Threats.” I am super excited about this course, as it is the first time I will actually be teaching students with prior STS training! Run over less than a month, I had to be very picky in the… Read More »Course Syllabus:: Making Security: Science, Technology, and the Governance of Threats

Building STS Programs

Society for the Social Studies of Science 2017 Annual Conference Friday 1 September 2017 / 12:45-1:45 / Sheraton Boston, 3, Beacon E Add this event to your 4S schedule Purpose STS Programs at universities around the world have a wide array of institutional backing. A few are woven into the fabric of the university, while others center around a single faculty member. Some have been going for decades, and others… Read More »Building STS Programs

Knowledge and Security

The new Handbook of Science and Technology Studies is now available, and I was lucky enough to work with a set of colleagues on a chapter about “Knowledge and Security”. This chapter discusses the STS contributions to security studies. The literature that comprises this chapter is grouped around four main themes and questions: 1. Imagining security: the scope, boundaries, and discourse of security; 2.Knowledge, non-knowledge, secrecy, and ignorance; 3.Knowing citizens:… Read More »Knowledge and Security

Words of Caution on Making Objects of Security Concern

As we continually develop new areas of technology, how do we think about how that technology might cause harm? In this talk, I draw out some lessons that can be learned from how Americans have built scientific cultures and governance mechanisms for constructing and governing security concerns in the life sciences. These cultures and mechanisms are built on a set of assumptions about the structure of knowledge and the relationship between… Read More »Words of Caution on Making Objects of Security Concern

Biosecurity Governance for the Real World

Current efforts to limit the dissemination of dual-use biological research results are rooted in simplistic understandings of how such knowledge becomes dangerous. I argue in an article appearing in the Fall 2016 Issues in Science and Technology that it’s time for a new approach. Read the full preprint. With little fanfare, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine set up a committee earlier this year on Dual Use Research of Concern: Options for… Read More »Biosecurity Governance for the Real World

Letter to the Editor of Nature on Synthetic Biology

In a recent issue of Nature, there was a special section on moving ‘Beyond Divisions’ in building the future of synthetic biology. While I and many of my colleagues support many ways of moving beyond many types of divisions, we thought the initial ‘Worldview‘ piece by  Volker ter Meulen required a concerted reply, as it missed the point of much of our work. 20 colleagues (listed below) and I sent… Read More »Letter to the Editor of Nature on Synthetic Biology

Taking up a new position at Berkeley

I have begun a new position at the University of California, Berkeley, within the new Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society (CSTMS).   The Center is a vibrant hub of activity and research on the social and political dimensions of science, technology and medicine.  It takes an array of perspectives, from Science & Technology Studies, History of Science, and the Medical Humanities, to help us understand the past, and… Read More »Taking up a new position at Berkeley

Thesis published on the Oxford Research Archive

[UPDATE December 2018]: The British Library has a working link to download my thesis. It is my pleasure to finally announce that my thesis has been published on the British Library e-thesis online service Oxford Research Archive. This is a redacted version of my thesis. The redactions were made in line with requests from the British Government, and include primarily a description of the location of the Wassenaar Secretariat, the Arrangement’s… Read More »Thesis published on the Oxford Research Archive