David Edgerton: Says elites need to understand science better

Historians in the News

Keynote speaker, David Edgerton, Hans Rausing Professor in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College, discussed how we need to change the way we understand science.

"We need to change and improve the elite understanding of science," says Professor Edgerton, "We need to learn from the long and significant interactions there have been between science and society, not least in Britain itself."
In his lecture, Professor Edgerton challenged the theory that hi-tech innovation is essential for progress in the modern world. "It is important to hold on to the knowledge we already have, which is necessarily about the past," he explains. "Without it we are ignorant. We need to talk about science and technology as grown ups, not as children gawping at a future we cannot know."
"Many issues we face today have been discussed already," adds Professor Edgerton, "often in richer ways than today."

An example of this is how we think of technology in futuristic terms and fail to notice older technologies surrounding us. Modern technology is not just a matter of electricity, mass production, aerospace, nuclear power and the internet. It is also about the rickshaw, the horse, corrugated iron, cement and the refrigerator.
Read entire article at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk

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