Egenis and Centre for Medical History Joint Seminar with Dr Robert Bud 'Constructing mode 2: The invention of biotechnology as technoscience in the 1960s and 1970s'
SpeakersDr Robert Bud, Visiting Professorial Fellow, Queen Mary University and Principal Curator of Medicine, Science Museum
VenueUniversity of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJRoom no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
The argument is that biotechnology was consciously created as a new kind of science in the 1960s and 1970s. Scientists justified their work and unprecedented levels of funding in terms of concerns about national defence on both sides of the iron curtain, the health and succour of humanity and economic renewal. Looking forward, policy scientific leaders such as Ivan Malek in Czechoslovakia, Joshua Lederberg in the US, and British policy makers at the time of the Spinks Committee in 1980 constructed arguments about the potential virtues of biotechnology and the consequent shape of a new science that would blend science with technology in an unprecedented manner. The use of an apparently new term captured for them some of the novelty of the conception they felt they had in mind. Very particular, and distinct, local contexts created pressures that were met by calls for a new kind of accountable science. Examination of the history can help take forward the discussion of whether Mode 2 was truly new, or in any way different from what had gone before, and whether biotechnology and nanoscience represented different phenomena from industrial chemistry in a previous generation.