What is an Ethical Scientist?

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Most decisions made by scientists and engineers in their professional lives have an ethical dimension. In both their practice and the education of students, engineers and scientists must understand the moral complexity of real-world situations, apply the relevant moral standards, and have the moral courage to make difficult choices, or the foundation of trust, essential to the scientific enterprise, will erode. I develop the fundamental concepts of scientific ethics and show how they apply to the practice and the relationship between science and society and discuss the day-to-day ethical problems including authorship, the treatment of data, larger questions such as the choice of research problems, and social responsibility.

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Jeffrey Kovac was educated at Reed College (B.A, 1970, Chemistry) and Yale University (M.Phil, 1972 and Ph.D., 1974, Theoretical Chemistry). After 2 years as a postdoc at MIT, he joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee where he is Professor of Chemistry and Director of College Scholars, an Honors program. An interdisciplinary scholar, he has authored more than 100 publications, six books, and has delivered endowed lectures at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe.