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Neal Lane

Neal Lane
Malcolm Gillis University Professor, Senior Fellow of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University

Talk Title: The Civic Scientist Era


There is a widely held myth that scientists care only about their research and standing in their field, their success in reproducing clones of themselves, and holding onto their labs after retirement.  The implication is that scientists are not much concerned about why their research is being funded or what good it will be to society.  In this talk, it will be argued that the myth was never accurate and that most scientists (and mathematicians, engineers and other technical professionals) were, and are “civic scientists” at least in spirit.  But today’s rapid advances in science and technology have such profound implications for the wellbeing of humans and the planet that the demands for “civic scientists” are much greater than at any time in the past.  Perhaps we are entering an era of the Civic Scientist.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Neal Lane, Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University, holds appointments as Senior Fellow of the James A. Baker  III Institute for Public Policy and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to returning to Rice University in January 2001, Dr.  Lane served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant to the  President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House  Office of Science and Technology Policy, and before that as Director  of the National Science Foundation. He was Rice’s Provost and Professor of Physics prior to his time in Washington. Dr. Lane is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.