We aim to develop a new, practicum-based science ethics training program which will be particularly appropriate for the diverse, practically oriented student population at the University of Houston. This project, "Experiencing Ethics", is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Click here to read more about this effort.


I. Pavlidis, A.M. Petersen, and I. Semendeferi published an article in the October 2014 issue of Nature Physics. The article, entitled "Together We Stand", articulates policies that will harmonize academic structure, function, and ethics in the team science era. This harmonization involves rethinking graduate education and research. More information can be found here. This paper has received press coverage.


The Devil's Heritage: Masuo Kodani, the "Nisei Problem," and Social Stratification at the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Japan (1946-1954)

Professor Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis

Jan 28, 2015
11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
232 Philip G. Hoffman Hall

This paper focuses on Masuo Kodani, a Japanese American geneticist best known for his work in the human chromosome story and for his work with human geneticist James V. Neel. It follows his tumultuous career beginning at the University of California, Berkeley and his subsequent incarceration at Manzanar War Relocation Center and at Tule Lake where he, along with a cluster of incarcerated Japanese American scientists, horticulturalists and nursery owners, engaged in a little-known wartime study on guayule, a source of latex, a valuable wartime commodity. The paper follows his subsequent appointment to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) in Japan, the American agency sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) and funded by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) that conducted research on the survivors of the atomic blasts. It explores at length his dual identity as intermediary between the survivors, and American officials and scientists collecting genetic data. His research and pivotal role in the organization of the Genetics Division is explored in the context of US-Japanese relations that drew on a number of "Nisei" or second generation Japanese Americans many of whom had similarly been interned and who functioned as intermediaries in the organization. The paper concludes with an assessment of Asian minorities in twentieth century in general and Japanese American minorities in particular. Read more...

  • Featured Blog

    Balancing The United States Energy Profile

    By Tyler Watkins | December 10, 2014

    In a recent study by H Damon Matthews et al. of Concordia University, it was found that the United States was the global leader in green house gas emissions. These gases have been proven to build up in the earth’s atmosphere and trap heat over time. Their accumulation has led to changes in the global climate and the United States’ government must not only take responsibility, but also make significant strides into lowering these harmful emissions. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    Timeless designs and irresponsible practices

    By Olga Bannova | December 10, 2014

    There are famous architects whose names probably well‐known even to people who are far from architectural profession: Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel and quite few others. They have received Pritzker prizes and their creations are distributed around the world on postcards and tourists brochures. After all, buildings that we construct now and that will stand for years to come will represent our times to future generations, right? Maybe it is true and nothing else matters except a masterpiece that left for centuries to admire, argue about, or even hate but never remain neutral about it. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    Big Oil: Emulating the Tobacco Industry

    By Sophia Ewens | December 10, 2014

    When we see a stray can in our private gardens we do not hesitate to pick it up. It is considered common sense to prevent our children from playing in a lawn drenched in pesticides. Yet, because Earth is so unfathomably large, most of us quickly treat pollution and environmental degradation as if they are someone else’s problems rather than our own. But the Earth is ours. It is our only home and the provider of everything we need to survive. It is therefore essential that we translate the compassion we feel towards our private homes into a sense of concern on the grander scale. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    Technology – Do we control it or does it control us?

    By Dinesh Majeti | December 3, 2014

    The rate at which science is progressing is really breathtaking. About 50 years ago, one could imagine of what we have achieved today. Earlier, computers were the size of many rooms. With the intervention of mobile technology, we are able to produce computers that can fit into our pockets. We can know what’s happening all around the world at our fingertips. With Google glass, get the ability to carry a computer in our glasses instead of having to carry one in our hand. You can just say, ‘Ok Google’ and Google will do everything for you at your command. Read more ...

Featured Course

Ethics in Science (Fall 2014)

The course focuses on historical perspectives and current practices of ethics and professional responsibility in science. It includes a practicum component in a science or medical lab.

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