Why Should Nanoscience Students be Taught to be Ethically Competent?

TitleWhy Should Nanoscience Students be Taught to be Ethically Competent?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRasmussen, AJulie, Ebbesen, M
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Pagination1065 - 1077
Date PublishedJan-12-2014
ISSN Number1353-3452
AbstractDuring the education of scientists at the university level the students become more and more specialized. The specialization of the students is a consequence of the scientific research becoming specialized as well. In the interdisciplinary field of nanoscience the importance of specialization is also emphasized throughout the education. Being an interdisciplinary field of study the specialization in this area is not focused on scientific disciplines, but on the different branches of the research. Historically ethics has not been a priority in science education, however, in recent years the importance of such teachings has been highly recognize especially in medicine, biotechnology and engineering. The rapid development, the many new and unknown areas and the highly specialized focus of nanotechnology suggest the importance of having ethically competent researchers. In this article the importance of ethical competence in nanoscience research is argued for by an example of a dilemma that could occur in a research project. The dilemma is analyzed using two different ethical views, generating two different choices for action. It is seen that the dilemma can have more than one solution and that ethical competence can help in justifying the choice of solution in a specific situation. Furthermore it is suggested that a way to reach this competence is through education in ethics incorporated into the nanoscience education curriculum.
Short TitleSci Eng Ethics