About NEVER JUST SCIENCE
You’ve heard it before: Science is under attack! And yes, the Trump administration has rolled back environmental protections, sidelined scientific experts, and consistently prioritized corporate profit over public health. Many scientists feel attacked, and rightly so.
But what kind of “science,” exactly, do we want to defend? The history of science is full of examples of scientists confusing their scientific expertise with a right to exercise political power. Science has given us pasteurized milk, solar panels, and a better understanding of how ecosystems interact, but it has also produced eugenics, tools for mass surveillance, and weapons of mass destruction. Science is made by people, and people are embedded in social and cultural systems. People are complicated, and science is too.
Never Just Science explores the intersection of science, history, and politics—what is, what has been, and what might be. “Science” is never just about science, and science without values can never be just. Subscribers can expect posts on Tuesdays (some of them, anyway) on contemporary science policy, the history of science, the scourge of scientism, and viable alternatives. Screeds are threatened but not promised.
As a historian of science, I believe that science cannot be separated from its culture. Science is part of politics, and it is part of power. My goal as a writer and a historian is to help scientists and members of the general public recognize the political nature of science in the fight for justice and freedom for all.
With a background in both science (B.S., chemistry, Purdue University) and history (Ph.D., history and sociology of science, University of Pennsylvania), I think scientists, historians, and everyone else has a lot to learn from each other. I’ve shared my insights on science and the Cold War in two books, Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science and Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America. My writing and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Science, The New Scientist, LARB, Slate, and the popular history podcast American History Tellers. I’ve talked about science and power on Freakonomics, PRI’s The World, Spycast, RadioTimes, and maybe even your local NPR affiliate.
You can find out more about me, including writing clips and media appearances, at my website.