Engagement through the Integration and Use of Scientific Results

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Stuart Umpleby, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Science is going through a period of dramatic change due to the internet, huge new quantities of data, and rapid growth in the number of research reports.  We also have increased understanding of human cognition and of differences in how science is practiced in various countries. Consequently, there is increasing reflection on the scientific enterprise – how to summarize results and integrate findings, not only among separate studies, but also across disciplines, and how to apply scientific methods and knowledge in the improvement of society and in the study of science itself. These efforts include re-examining the balance between theory and practice. If first order science is the science of exploring the world, then second order science is the science of reflecting on these explorations and seeing how the act of doing science affects the knowledge that is produced.  The differences between the uses of theory and practice in different scientific domains is a crucial aspect for study. As science becomes a more global enterprise, the importance of revealing underlying assumptions used in any particular scientific endeavor increases if there is to be shared engagement and understanding. Both scientists and policy makers can thus benefit from careful examination of both meta results and implicit assumptions. This panel will explain the origins of second order science and its relationship to engagement and cooperation across both borders and disciplines.