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Faculty Spotlight: Ben Hurlbut

Dr. Ben Hurlbut has been very busy this past spring and summer! He was recently appointed to the National Academies Committee on Integrating Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  The ad hoc committee is overseen by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), in collaboration with other units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Its charge is to evaluate whether educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the arts, humanities and STEM lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students.  It has a 24 month term and will produce a consensus report. 

He also delivered the Arthur J. Schmitt lecture at University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. His lecture, “Taking Responsibility: Science and its Revolutions, from Recombinant DNA to Gene Editing,” examined the historical origins, contemporary forms, and political import of particular notions of scientific responsibility, attending in particular to how ideas of responsible (and irresponsible) science shape how we imagine, deliberate about, and govern technological futures.

Recently, Ben was an invited speaker at a meeting at the University of California at Davis on CRISPR Technology: Responsible Discourse about Science & Bioethics.  His talk, "The Demands of CRISPR’s World: Imagination, Deliberation and Governance,” situated recent debates about human applications of gene editing technologies within a larger history of American approaches to governance of emerging technologies.  The meeting, hosted by the North UC Bioethics Collaboratory included prominent scientists, legal scholars, and bioethicists.

Dr. Hurlbut was also recently awarded a $217,000 grant by the Templeton Religion Trust for a project on “Beyond Secularization: piloting new approaches to the study of religion, science and technology in public life.”  Undertaken in collaboration with ASU faculty in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, the project will develop new approaches to studying the relationships between science, technology and religion in contemporary public life. The grant will support a number of preliminary empirical studies of how conceptions of religion, science and technology and their interrelations shape culturally shared visions of progress and are enacted in social practices.  It will contribute to scholarship on “secularization” which has to date tended to neglect the role of science and technology in shaping secular public life.  The initial project will fund a series of pilot studies, a major international workshop, and development of platforms for public engagement, all in preparation for developing a larger proposal. 

The Center wishes him continued success!

More information: Andrea Cottrell (