Concern has recently arisen over the quality of American education and our declining scientific and research orientation. Debates are emerging about what direction public universities should be taking as we head into the twenty-first century. Why and to what extent should society know about science? This book will help readers come to an informed understanding about the place of science and technology in today's world.
To put some of the adventure back in everyday science, this study is the place to start. Bauer, chemistry professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, upends current contentions about science literacy in a small, dense book that could be the nucleus of a restructuring of how science works in our culture, or, in the author's terms, how its reputation works. The call for more science literacy is a shibboleth in this STS-based (science, technology, society) exposition, which is a sort of deconstruction of the general image of science. Excising popular fallacies, Bauer argues that science is particular knowledge embedded in its time's social context and, therefore, in continuous change. His critique is radical: demystify the science we learn as fact (``textbook science''), keep ``frontier science'' (research) from being overwhelmed by structural forces in technocracy, avoid ``scientism'' as a basis of social policy. Science can be made to serve us better, stresses the author, but not as a new mythology. (Mar.)