The Promise, the Hype, and the Reality: It's a Different Perceptual Era for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Over at the Knight Science Tracker, Charlie Petit has a round-up on news coverage of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's first significant research grants for stem cell research. Though much of the focus in California and nationally has obviously been on the promise of embryonic stem cell research, only four of the 14 funded projects involve these type of stem cells. The emphasis is on projects that could lead to the most immediate clinical results, a strong if not "tacit acknowledgment that the promise of human embryonic stem cells is still far in the future" writes Andrew Pollack at the NY Times.
On Monday, in a keynote presentation at the meetings of the Canadian Stem Cell Network in Montreal, I will be reviewing how far we have come over the past decade in the framing of the stem cell debate and in terms of public perceptions. I will post a synopsis here next week and I will have several studies to report on this winter and spring.
In the meantime, readers will want to check out the Network's newly launched online Stem Cell Charter. The site opens to a powerful video. It's a testimonial by scientists explaining their belief in the promise of stem cell research. Yet it doesn't engage in some of the trademark hype that brands much of the past political debate. At the Web site, you can sign the stem cell charter, offering your support for research and endorsing a specific reason. I chose "the responsible advancement of stem cell research."
Are university safe spaces killing intellectual growth?
Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.
- Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
- Time travel may be possible.
- Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.
- Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
- But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
- Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.