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Mütter Museum, 19 S 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


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Special Features

  • Free Food

Revisiting Frankenstein: Innovation and Contemporary Monsters

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6:00 PM-8:30 PM

Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus" is one of the first—and still one of the most provocative—articulations of the fraught relationship between creativity and responsibility in scientific inquiry. Although the novel was published nearly 200 years ago, its underlying themes continue to resonate as society confronts emerging technologies.
Join the Drexel University Alumni Association and the Center for Science, Technology and Society at the Mütter Museum, for a reception and conversation with David Guston, PhD, professor of politics and global studies, co-director the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University and Gwen Ottinger, PhD, assistant professor in Drexel’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, to learn what we can do to ensure that technological innovations don’t yield unintended consequences.

After the discussion, alumni are invited to tour the Mütter, America’s finest museum of medical history, which has been helping the public to understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease since the late 19th century.

“From Frankenstein to Synthetic Biology: Responsible Innovation and the Insufficiency of ‘Cool’”
Presented by David Guston, PhD
Two hundred years ago, electricity was a “cool” new emerging technology, uncertain yet seemingly consequential in its strange connection to living – and recently dead – organisms. Today’s emerging technologies – including synthetic biology – are similarly uncertain yet potentially profound. Professor Guston blends a discussion of Frankenstein with personal experience and interdisciplinary scholarship to stitch together a constructive critique of how we might best approach emerging technologies, balancing creativity and responsibility but not accepting innovation just because it’s “cool.”
“Managing the Unintended Consequences of Green Energy”
Presented by  Gwen Ottinger, PhD
At first glance, wind power appears to be the epitome of clean, green energy: it harnesses an inexhaustible resource without polluting. Yet, large wind farms are increasingly opposed by the people who would have to live next to them, because of human health effects not anticipated by wind energy’s environmentally conscious designers. Given this, how do we ensure that other promising energy technologies are not also slowed or scuttled by public reaction to effects that designers had never considered? 

  • 6 - 6:45 PM: Reception (Food and Drinks)
  • 6:45 PM: Talks by Drs. Guston and Ottinger
  • 7:45 PM: Tour the Mütter Museum

Admission: $20 per person (includes the reception, talks and tour) 

RSVP for the event here.

Contact Information

Kelly Joyce