Nuclear Reactions: Science and Trans-Science
Today we are continuously asked to weigh the benefits of technology against its risks. Do the rewards of nuclear reactors, for example, come with an acceptable degree of risk? Alvin Weinberg coined the term "trans-science" to describe such questions; the answers, of course, are beyond the reach of pure science.
The intersection of scientific limitations and public expectations has been Weinberg's intellectual realm for more than 30 years. Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Office of Energy Research and Development, and the Institute for Energy Analysis, Weinberg has spent his career as a scientific administrator mediating the roles of science in matters of public policy.
In addition to his famous piece that introduced the concept of trans-science, this collection of insightful and challenging essays includes "Science and Its Limits: The Regulator's Dilemma," an update of Weinberg's seminal article with more recent thoughts on scientific responsibility and regulation.
Weinberg writes with knowledge and passion about arms control and strategic defense, the greenhouse effect, resource scarcity, solar power, scientific administration, and "engineering in the age of anxiety,'' dealing with nuclear-reactor safeguards and public perceptions of their reliability. Weinberg argues persuasively that a philosophy of scientific administration (parallel with the philosophy of science) is needed to deal with trans-scientific questions.
The author recalls the excitement and optimism of the first age of nuclear power, in which he played a significant role, and the sober reality of the current second stage. He sails enthusiastically into the debate between "catastrophists," those who see imminent exhaustion of the earth's resources, and "cornucopians," those, like Weinberg, who argue that most major materials are inexhaustible.
In a collection that contains expert assessment and forceful argument, Weinberg goes to the heart of the most troubling conundrums at the nexus of science and society.
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SCIENCE AND TRANSSCIENCE
The Regulators Dilemma
Can Technology Replace Social Engineering?
Unity as a Criterion of Scientific Choice
The Philosophy and Practice of Scientific Administration
Science Government and Information
STRATEGIC DEFENSE AND ARMS CONTROL
A Family of Maxwells Demons
Energy Policy and Mathematics
Energy in Retrospect
Salvaging the Atomic Age
Burning the Rocks Forty Years Later
Nuclear Power and Public Perception
Engineering in an Age of Anxiety
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