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VIII EPS Forum Physics and Society

by Ove Poulsen last modified 2018-07-05 11:41

Geneva Lake


29 September 2018, University of Geneva, Switzerland

I. Rationale
What are the key elements that make human beings so unique in nature?. At first glance, we might think that the key ingredient that makes humans so unique is our verbal communication skills. Indeed, verbal communication is crucial for exchanging ideas and for the development of our complex human societies. Alternatively, we might think that what makes us completely different from other living species is our capability to build complex instruments and tools, both having a huge social impact. But in addition to our verbal communication and capability to build complex instruments, there is one more element that makes human beings really unique; it is our ability to imagine and shape the future making use of the scientific-technological alliance. Our past, present, and future linked by our projected memories, dreams and passion for knowledge.
Although the quest for knowledge in itself is not necessarily susceptible to ethical evaluation, science should abandon its ethical neutrality when it addresses the way knowledge is achieved and the technological applications that affect the needs and desires of individuals and society.  This is particularly clear in health research where the interests of science and society should never prevail over the well being of individuals or research for a sustainable development where desires of individuals should not prevail over the needs of society and humanity. Furthermore, the development of artificial intelligence will lead us through a fascinating landscape of development as well as ethical considerations.

These issues will be the key elements for discussion during the forthcoming “Forum Physics and Society / 2018” to be held in Geneva September 2018.
II. Structure of the meeting
II.a Four / Five topical lectures on e.g.:

  • Physics and ethics for society: Health research
  • Physics and ethics for society: Sustainable development
  • Physics and ethics for society: Artificial intelligence
  • Physics and ethics for society: Physics in living matter
  • Physics and ethics for society: Our place in the universe

II.b Round table discussion to address questions like e.g.

  • Is science, as a whole, ethically neutral?; 
  • Should people dedicated to science develop something like a Hippocratic Oath with the promise of using Science solely for the benefit of mankind?; 
  • What is the role of science to promote a fairer development in the horizon 2050?

II.c Conclusions and drafting of EPS statement





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