Shirley Tilghman
Molecular Biologist; Pres., Princeton University

Consuming Technology

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Tilghman discusses our need for technology to give us alternatives to fossil fuels. This all boils down to climate change which will effect the world indefinitely.

Shirley Tilghman

Shirley Tilghman is the nineteenth president of Princeton University, and is the first woman to hold the position. Tilghman served on the Princeton faculty for fifteen years before being named President. A native of Canada, Tilghman was educated at Queen's University and Temple University. She is a renowned molecular biologist, known particularly for her pioneering research in mammalian developmental genetics. She served as a member of the National Research Council's committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project and was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project Initiative for the National Institutes of Health.

In 2002, Tilghman was one of five winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.  In the following year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology, and in 2007, she was awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal for outstanding contributions to her field.  Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Royal Society of London. She chairs the Association of American Universities and serves as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and as a director of Google Inc.

Sort of on a more philosophical level, I think we’re gonna have to figure out how we’re gonna deal with change and the pace of change. One of the things I’ve really noticed as a scientist over the last 20 years, I think, is that as scientific and engineering advances occur, they are always accompanied by anxiety on the part of the public about the degree to which those advances – as wonderful as some of them may be in terms of saving lives or improving the quality of life – they bring change and change is hard. And I think it’s going to be a real challenge to manage that change in a way that does not exacerbate sort of the overall level of anxiety that exists around things like stem cells, around Internet privacy, for example. All legitimate things to be concerned about, but anxiety that’s getting in the way with having that technology actually have a positive impact it’s capable of having. Recorded on: 8/7/07