Slowing Science Down

Science is moving fast right now. The novel coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions for rapid knowledge generation. But is fast science always a good thing? Several of the essays in the Spring 2020 Issues reveals that the institutional arrangements for science need to allow space for things to slow down—and that there are considerable costs to not doing so.

Editor's Journal

  • Slow Science, Fast Science

    Science is moving fast right now. The novel coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions for rapid knowledge generation: about the virus itself, its behavior in individual humans and societies, the social interventions… Read More



Book Reviews

  • SCIENCE AND THE STATE by John Gascoigne

    Powerful Knowledge

    The relationship between government and scientific research, broadly conceived, is central to the quest for human betterment and the sustainability of the planet. Only the state has the resources, legitimacy, and authority to identify, fund, and deploy the important advances developed by research in the public interest.

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    Whatever Human Makes

    To critics of geoengineering, altering the amount of incoming solar radiation by spraying the stratosphere with aerosols is crazy; on the other hand, the more the climate warms, the more a drastic solution seems appealing, and garners the kind of attention that turns into research funding.

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  • Alex Rosenblat, "Uberland"

    Inside the Gig Economy

    Uberland details Uber’s growth model, which hinges on ignoring municipal regulation to enter new cities without heeding relevant taxi, registration, or background check regulations. Cities that have attempted to ban or restrict Uber struggle to enforce these restrictions.

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  • The Gift of Global Talent by William R. Kerr

    Shutting the Door

    US policy, rather than seeking to attract talented individuals, has thrown up barriers to make immigration—and sometimes even short-term visits by scientists and engineers, including internationally known and respected experts—difficult and complicated.

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  • "GMOs Decoded" by Sheldon Krimsky

    Promise or Peril?

    I was looking forward to a book that delves into these issues and provides what a blurb on the back of GMOs Decoded calls “an authoritative and balanced examination of the scientific and policy debates about GMOs.” But after I’d finished the book I recalled Jake, the hero of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, lamenting a doomed relationship with the weary skepticism I was starting to feel: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

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