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Media is revolutionizing science in all its forms, from patient access to information, to technologies doctors use to diagnose and treat, to how science research brings solutions to global health problems. The JUST Science Section discusses the various ways media drives scientific advances and affects social change.

Karina Saravia
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Funding Scientific Literacy to Drive Social Change

Karina Saravia
December, 2013   

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The exponential rate of technological advances is leveraging the world of tomorrow into the world of today. The Human Genome Project paved the way for many advances in medicine and the biological sciences. Administering genetic tests enables the opportunity to know if a person is predisposed to an array of illnesses, ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis and also has many forensic applications. Many pharmacological drugs have come forth from genomics. The National Institute of Health’s BRAIN Initiative is predicted to have similar, if not more significant effects. By mapping out the neural connections in the brain, scientist will better understand the depths of human cognition, perception and action which can generate practical applications in fields ranging from synthetic biology and computer science to marketing and advertising (See When Silicon Meets Biology). Just as paint and clay have facilitated artistic expression throughout the ages, the brain imaging and genomic sequencing technologies of today are creating endless roads of possibility. As a result, it is necessary to invest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, as well as their corresponding ethics, to ensure future generations will continue to effectively engage in and create progress. 

In a time when climate change, biotechnology, surveillance and military technology are of critical concern, scientist and non-scientist alike must have a well-rounded understanding of the sciences. In the United States, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act, focusing on the nation’s need to further invest in STEM fields for socio-economic development, was recently proposed. Reports show that “more than 50 percent of economic growth in the U.S. [has been the] outcome of federally funded research resulting in new innovations” during the past decade (See Inside Indiana Business). With this in mind, funding scientific literacy is a necessary step to drive social change. Media and media technology are the vehicle of communication and progress, driving the function of society, and should be used to spread scientific literacy. STEM disciplines should be emphasized academically, and promoted as enthusiastically as the arts and entertainment to appeal to the public, to ultimately generate practical solutions. STEM topics must spread like memes, while retaining the constructive, life-forming properties of genes. Science must propagate like propaganda.

Reader Comments (1)

Karina - it would be great to have something specific here "advances in medicine and pharmaceutical drug development." to make your point.

December 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterEditor

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