Imperial College London

DrStephenWebster

Central FacultyCentre for Languages, Culture and Communication

Director of Science Communication Unit
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 8760stephen.webster

 
 
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Location

 

S312DSherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

19 results found

Webster S, 2021, A triptych of lawlessness, The Cabinet of Imaginary Laws, Editors: Goodrich, Zartaloudis, Publisher: Routledge, Pages: 19-34, ISBN: 978 0 3675 6658 6

This essay is about the rules and laws of science, and the way they let us down. I will make the unusual argument that, for science to be ethical, a strong element of lawlessness is needed. But what is an ethical science? Amongst other things, it is one where a scientist’s individual autonomy, intellectual and otherwise, is harmonised with social responsibility. This happy balance is somewhat threatened by the realities of a high-pressure research culture. Professional anxiety, therefore, gives a background hum to my argument. However, my more explicit theme concerns the laws of science, and their grip on the imagination of scientists. I explore, in particular, the idea that the image of a lawlike science lessens the ability of researchers to see what is right and good in their work. As a corrective I consider an alternative, lawless conception of science. To make this vision of science as effective as possible, I conceive a magnificent painted triptych, filled with examples and allegories. It will hang in the foyers and even the laboratories of our science institutes and is called “The Triptych of Lawlessness”.

Book chapter

Lacchia AR, Webster S, 2021, La Commedia Scientifica – Dante and the scientific virtues, Geoscience Communication, Vol: 4, Pages: 129-145, ISSN: 2569-7110

The ethical challenges facing contemporary science range from scientific misconduct to the rightful treatment of people, animals and the environment. In this work, we explore the role of virtue ethics, which concern the character of a person, in contemporary science. Through interviews with 13 scientists, eight of whom are geoscientists, we identify six virtues in science (honesty, humility, philia, innocence, generosity and reticence), paired with vices, and construct a narrative argument around them. Specifically, we employ the narrative structure of the late medieval poem The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, and draw on its moral universe to explore the scientific virtues. Using this narrative device, we make the case for virtue ethics being a reliable guide for all matters scientific. As such, this work lays out a modern code of conduct for science.

Journal article

Webster S, 2017, Darwin’s silence: an anatomy of quietude, The Silences of Science Gaps and Pauses in the Communication of Science, Editors: Mellor, Webster, Publisher: Routledge, ISBN: 978 1 4724 5997 8

Book chapter

Mellor F, Webster S, 2017, The Silences of Science: Gaps and Pauses in the Communication of Science, Publisher: Routledge, ISBN: 978 1 4724 5997 8

Book

Webster S, 2014, Charles Darwin, Publisher: The History Press, ISBN: 978 0 7524 9940 6

Book

Ritter M, Webster S, 2012, Scientific Integrity: the Perspective from Imperial College London, Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment, Editors: Mayer, Steneck, Publisher: World Scientific, ISBN: 978-981-4340-97-7

Book chapter

Mellor F, Webster S, Bell A, 2011, Content Analysis of the BBC's Science Coverage., A Review of the Impartiality and Accuracy of the BBC's Coverage of Science., Publisher: BBC Trust

Report

Webster S, 2008, Science in the Making, BBC Radio Four

Other

Webster S, 2006, Art, Science and the Public, Engaging science, Editors: Turney, Publisher: The Wellcome Trust, Pages: 74-79, ISBN: 9781841290621

Book chapter

Webster S, 2005, Art and science collaborations in the United Kingdom, Nature Reviews Immunology, Vol: 5, Pages: 965-968

Journal article

Webster S, 2003, Thinking about Biology, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978 0 5215 9059 4

Thinking About Biology is a philosophical commentary on biology, intended for biology students. It aims to make science students' studies more interesting, ...

Book

Webster S, 2000, The Kingfisher book of evolution, ISBN: 978 0 7534 0440 9

Examines the evolution of life on Earth, from the first primitive organisms to modern humans, and attempts to look into the future.

Book

Stuart A, Webster S, 1996, Biology, Publisher: Heinemann, ISBN: 978 0 4355 8004 9

Biology is part of the Heinemann Coordinated Science series and covers all of the content needed for Coordinated Science at the top grades in the foundation ...

Book

Webster S, 1996, No Hard Feelings, BBC Radio Four

Other

Webster S, 1995, Inside my House, Publisher: Red Fox, Random House, ISBN: 978 1 8983 0476 0

Book

Webster S, 1995, Me and my body, Publisher: Red Fox, Random House, ISBN: 978 1 8983 0466 1

Book

Webster S, 1994, Nuffield Advanced Science: Biology Foundation Unit, Publisher: Longman, ISBN: 978 0 5822 3317 1

Book

Webster S, 1993, BBC World Service, "Marking Time"

Other

Webster SB, "What Scientists Believe"A 3 part documentary on the nature of science, Radio 4, December 2009

Other

This data is extracted from the Web of Science and reproduced under a licence from Thomson Reuters. You may not copy or re-distribute this data in whole or in part without the written consent of the Science business of Thomson Reuters.

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