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Steam Not Stem: Why Scientists Need Arts training


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robot-human The Creation, illustration

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In 1959, the British physicist and novelist C.P. Snow delivered a famously controversial lecture at Cambridge University. He described a post-war schism between two groups — scientists and the literary world. Those divisions within the university seem now more deeply entrenched than ever before.

How can universities train our scientists, technologists, and engineers to engage with society, as Snow suggested, rather than perform as cogs in the engine of economic development?

I believe we need our educational system to engage students with issues of ethics and responsibility in science and technology. We should treat required arts and humanities courses not as some vague attempt to "broaden minds" but rather as a necessary discussion of morals, values, ethics and responsibility.

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