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EMBL periodically holds Science & Society discussion meetings on a variety of topics relevant to the life sciences. If you have any suggestions for future discussion meetings, please get in touch.

Past discussion meetings


13 July 2021, 10:00-13:00, Virtual
Harnessing the Life Sciences to Accelerate the Green Recovery


Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 18:00, Staff Lounge
Science Ex Machina: What is the Impact of Big Data and Machine Learning on Science?


Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 17:30, Staff Lounge
The artificial womb – do we really know where we are going?


Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 18:00, Staff Lounge
Animal Research in the Spotlight: Biomedical Research versus Animal Rights?


Tuesday, 20 October 2015, 18:00, Staff Lounge
Reproducibility and scientific integrity: much ado about nothing?


Monday, 24 February 2014, 18:00, Staff Lounge
Ethics in animal research at EMBL and beyond


Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 18:00 Staff Lounge
Science in developing countries

Monday, 30 September 2013, 18:00, Staff Lounge
An assault on your insides? Assessing the causes of growing resistance to antibiotics

Wednesday, 5 June 2013, 18:00, Small Operon
Genome sequencing and the future of confidentiality in the 21 century: the HeLa case

Wednesday, 20 March 2013, 18:00, Staff Lounge
Mapping the human brain: Do our connectomes make us who we are?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013, 18:00, room 208
The personal genome: assessing scientists' perceptions


Thursday, 15 November 2012 18:00-19:00 in room 202


Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 18:00 in room 202
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out


The impact/role of anthropomorphic perception in science: from protein linguistics to memetics
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Leader of discussion: Foteini Christodoulou

Definition of the term 'anthropomorphism'
Joseph Agassi, Anthromorphism in Science
G. A. Bradshaw and Barbara L. Finlay, Natural symmetry
Christopher Loose, Kyle Jensen, Isidore Rigoutsos, Gregory Stephanopoulos, A linguistic model for the rational design of antimicrobial peptides

Double Helix: the DNA years
Wednesday, 20 September 2006
Leader of discussion: Christian Hentrich

Science of Sustainable Environment: a Case Study
Thursday, 13 July 2006
Leader of discussion: Claudia Chica

Claudia's reading notes
A quest for the economics of sustainability and the sustainability of economics by Matthias Ruth
Entropy, limits to growth, and the prospects for weak sustainability by Frank C. Krysiak

Francis Fukuyama on human nature
Thursday, 22 June 2006
Leader of discussion: Michal Karzynski
"Second thoughts: the last man in a bottle" (Francis Fukuyama)
"The End of History?" (Francis Fukuyama)

Against Method – a Leisure Time with Feyerabend
Wednesday, 3 May 2006
Leader of discussion: Christian Hentrich

The Universe in a Single Atom
Wednesday, 15 March 2006
Leader of discussion: Carl Neumann


Reconsidering the Human Genome diversity
Tuesday, 11 January 2005
18:00, Room 208
Mikko Taipale


17 June 2004
Nature of Creativity in Art and Science
Giovanni Frazzetto

Different and yet alike (PDF)
EMBO Reports, 2004, 5 (3), 233-5

18 May 2004
The slippery slope argument in the bioethical debate
Daniel Forler


The Slippery Slope Argument (PDF)

16 December 2003
Zen and the art of scooping

It's a scoop (Nature, Vol 426, 20 Nov 2003)

31 July 2003
Science and social responsibilty: an account on a recent meeting at The Hastings Center, New York
Martin Ploss

Teaching scientists to be citizens – It is hard to become a good scientist. It is even harder to become a good citizen (Jacques Dubochet, EMBO Reports 4: 330-332, 2003)
Making genes, making waves. A social activist in science (Jon Beckwith, Harvard University Press, 2002)
The Hastings Center, New York
The Hastings Center is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit bioethics research institute founded in 1969 to explore fundamental and emerging questions in health care, biotechnology, and the environment.

18 June 2003
Science in developing countries: a challenge to the world's scientists
Leonie Unterholzner

A challenge to the world's scientists (K. Annan, Science 299:1485 2003)
Science and sustainability (A. Leshner, Science 297:897 2002)
News, views and information about science, technology and development
Third World Academy of Sciences

27 March 2003
The green revolution: can GM food save the world from hunger?
Daniel Forler and Mikko Taipale

BBC Gene Stories: GM food
Food First: Lessons from the Green Revolution
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ESN Food and Nutrition: Biotechnology and Food Safety

27 February 2003
The biology and sociology of time
Halldór Stefánsson

Forever Young (Linda Partridge) Nature, 20 February 2003
The whens and wherefores of life (F. Gonzalez–Crussi, Nature, 16 December 1999)

23 January 2003
Science between security and freedom: the impact of terror on science
Martin Ploss

Balancing terror and freedom (Donald Kennedy, Science, vol. 298, p. 2091, 2002)
Scientist support for biological weapons (Bruce Alberts and Robert M. May, Science, vol. 298, p. 1135, 2002
Science, censorship, and public health (Abigail Salyers, Science, vol. 296, p. 617, 2002)
National security and the biological research community (Ronald M. Atlas, Science, vol. 298, p. 753-754, 2002)
Science in an age of terrorism (Mitchel B. Wallerstein, Science, vol. 297, p. 2169, 2002)


19 December 2002
A trip to the science museum
Sarah Sherwood, EMBL

A day at the museum (Owens, S.R., Lecrubier, A. and H. Breithaupt, EMBO Reports 3: 506-510 2001)

28 November 2002
Selling science to the public
Leonie Unterhoelzner, EMBL

Selling science to the public (Roger Highfield, Science, vol. 289, no. 5476, 2000)

17 October 2002
What motivates misconduct in science?
Mikko Taipale, EMBL

Reflections on scientific fraud (Nature 419, 417 2002)
Sitting in judgement (Erika Check, Nature 419, 332–333 2002
Final report of the JH Schön case (Lucent Technologies)

26 September 2002
Debunking the paranormal
Rob Russell, EMBL

Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
James Randi Educational Foundation
Skeptics Society

26 June 2002
Nature and nurture: an unresolved debate
Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne

Source of human psychological differences: The Minnesota study of twins reared apart (Bouchard, et al, Science 250, 223–228 1990)
Alas, poor Darwin. arguments against evolutionary psychology (Rose, H., and Rose, S., New York, Harmony Books 2000)
Born that way (Wright, W., New York, Routledge 1999)

5 June 2002
Hollywood's promotion of science
Daniel Forler

6th day
Missyplicity Project
Molecular Meow Mix Creates Copy Cat Clone (Sean Henahan)
Saving your animal's genetic life

27 March 2002
Women and science in Islam
Giovanni Frazzetto, EMBL

Islamic Women in Science (Farkhonda Hassan, Essays in Science and Society, Science October 6, 2000; 290 (5849): 55)

14 February 2002
In the wake of PISA: what we can learn about education systems and how to improve them
Andrew Moore, EMBO

The PISA study (Farkhonda Hassan, OECD, 2001)
PISA in the news

10 January 2002
The Heidelberger Life-Science Lab: science and education
Stefanie Denger, EMBL

Heidelberger Life-Science Lab


21 November 2001
Perspectives on post–genomics
Connie Lee and Federico De Masi

After the genome, what then? (Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, 2001)
Me and my genome (Gottfried Schatz, FEBS Letters 25274 2001 1-2)

19 July 2001
Science in the Third Reich: acknowledging a historical responsibility and learning from the past
Katrin Weigmann

24 April 2001
Can science journalists endanger public health?
Holger Breithaupt

Hope in the Lab: a special report (Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, 2001)
Me and my genome (G. Kolata, New York Times, May 3, 1998)
Flawed Science at the Times (S. Fragin, Brill's Content, Oct. 1998)
The Hope and the Hype (C. Gorman, Time Magazine, May 18, 1998)

29 March 2001
Selling science: on the art of image advertising in science journals
Halldór Stefánsson

Creative Sparks (J. Goldenberg, D. Mazursky and S. Solomon, Science 285, 1495-1496 1999)

22 February 2001
World conference on science
Will Stanley


25 January 2001
Humans in science and religion: from monkeys or from mud?
Federico De Masi

Evolution and the Science and Religion Dialogue


30 November 2000
Intellectual property rights and patenting: what role do they play in science?
Birgit Kerber

World Intellectual Property Organization
Intellectual Property Rights and Research Tools in Molecular Biology
United States Patent and Trademark Office
European Patent Office

26 October 2000
Therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning: can we draw a line between good and bad?
Katrin Weigmann

Stem cell research: medical progress with responsibility
Reprogenetics: Third millennium speculation. (Lee M. Silver, EMBO Reports)

21 September 2000
Bioterrorism: facts and fiction
Freddy Frischknecht

The Looming Threat of Bioterrorism (D.A. Henderson, Science, 283, 1279-82 1999)
New Scientist
Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies

3 August 2000
Free will in the light of neurobiology
Berthold Rutz

The neurobiology of cognition (M. James and W.T. Newsome, Nature, 402, Suppl. 2 Dec. 1999)
Neural correlates of decision variables in parietal cortex (M.L. Platt and P.W. Glimcher, Nature, 400 2000)
Monkeys play the odds (M. J. Nichols and W.T. Newsome, Nature, 400 2000)

6 July 2000
Thou shalt not clone thyself: Do we need an eleventh commandment?
Giuseppe Testa


Cloning: Pathways to a Pluripotent Future (Anne McLaren, Science, 288, 175-178 2000)

25 May 2000
Who wants to live forever?
George Reid

Intimations of Immortality (J. Harris, Science's Essays on Science and Society 2000)

27 May 2000
Cancer: evolution to revolution
Sarah Sherwood

HBO Cancer