The early Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, Hindu, and Arabic cultures are responsible for many scientific and mathematical ideas and technological inventions. Modern science is based on traditions of thought that came together in Europe about 500 years ago. People from all cultures now contribute to that tradition.
Learning Goal 2
Progress in science and invention depends heavily on what else is happening in society.
Learning Goal 3
History often involves scientific and technological developments.
Learning Goal 4
Science disciplines differ from one another in what is studied, techniques used, and outcomes sought, but they share a common purpose and philosophy, and all are part of the same scientific enterprise. Although each discipline provides a conceptual structure for organizing and pursuing knowledge, many problems are studied by scientists using information and skills from many disciplines. Disciplines do not have fixed boundaries, and it happens that new scientific disciplines are being formed where existing ones meet and that some subdisciplines spin off to become new disciplines in their own right.
Learning Goal 5a
Current ethics in science hold that research involving human subjects may be conducted only with the informed consent of the subjects, even if this constraint limits some kinds of potentially important research or influences the results.
Learning Goal 5b
When applications of research could pose risks to society, scientists' decisions to participate in that research are based on personal as well as professional ethics.
Learning Goal 6ab
Scientists can bring information, insights, and analytical skills to bear on matters of public concern. Acting in their areas of expertise, scientists can help people understand the likely causes of events and estimate their possible effects.
Learning Goal 6c
Outside their areas of expertise, scientists should enjoy no special credibility.
Learning Goal 6d
Where a scientist's own personal, institutional, or community interests are at stake, he or she may be as biased as others are.
Learning Goal 7
The strongly held traditions of science, including its commitment to peer review and publication, serve to keep the vast majority of scientists well within the bounds of ethical professional behavior. Deliberate deceit is rare and likely to be exposed sooner or later by the scientific enterprise itself. When violations of these scientific ethical traditions are discovered, they are strongly condemned by the scientific community, and the violators then have difficulty regaining the respect of other scientists.
Learning Goal 8
Funding influences the direction of science by virtue of the decisions that are made on which research to support. Research funding comes from various federal government agencies, industry, and private foundations.
Learning Goal 9
Scientists often cannot bring definitive answers to matters of public debate. There may be little reliable data available, or there may not yet be adequate theories to understand the phenomena involved, or the answer may involve the comparison of values that lie outside of science.
Learning Goal 10
Because science is a human activity, what is valued in society influences what is valued in science.
Learning Goal 11
The direction of scientific research is affected by informal influences within the culture of science itself, such as prevailing opinion on which questions are most interesting or which methods of investigation are most likely to be fruitful. Elaborate processes involving scientists themselves have been developed to decide which research proposals receive funding, and committees of scientists regularly review progress in various disciplines to recommend general priorities for funding.
Learning Goal 12
The dissemination of scientific information is crucial to its progress. Some scientists present their findings and theories in papers that are delivered at meetings or published in scientific journals. Those papers enable scientists to inform others about their work, to expose their ideas to criticism by other scientists, and, of course, to stay abreast of scientific developments around the world.