Just What is Pugwash?
A Brief Introduction
As a non-advocacy, educational organization, Carnegie Mellon Student Pugwash strives to increase awareness of the ethical dilemmas created by the interactions of science, technology, and medicine within contemporary society and approaches to dealing with these dilemmas. Our interdisciplinary perspective helps to bridge the gap between knowledge and action in areas such as biotechnology, computers in society, management of technology, national security and nuclear weapons, energy, technology transfer, and the environment. Carnegie Mellon Student Pugwash is non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, non-partisan, and student run. At its center, Pugwash has a steering committee, all which directs the group through popular consensus. Carnegie Mellon Student Pugwash encourages participation of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. We encourage participation from all majors, as this leads to an interdisciplinary approach that stimulates more universal, well-rounded thought and discussion. All of our meetings are open to those willing to contribute and learn from its activities.
The Carnegie Mellon Chapter of Student Pugwash is an independent, student run organization with active undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members from various colleges within the university. The chapter, formed in the fall of 1987, aims to provide students a forum to discuss and better understand the social and ethical dimensions of science and technology. Close contact is maintained with the Student Pugwash USA national office in Washington, DC, and Pugwash chapters at other colleges and universities around the world. We take our name from Pugwash, Nova Scotia where the first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs was held in 1957. The conferences began and the behest of Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell, co-authors of the Pugwash Manifesto, which calls on scientists to consider the ethical implications of their work. Student Pugwash programs address the fact that science and technology are shaping the physical and social worlds in increasingly profound ways. If society is to avoid thoughtless applications of technology, it is critical to train young people to consider the social and ethical implications of their decisions. Scientists and engineers should be educated about the effects their work will have on society. Policy makers should be prepared to analyze and shape the course of technology policy. And, perhaps most importantly, citizens must feel that they have a right and a responsibility to join with experts in addressing the world's most pressing problems. In the spirit of Albert Einstein's challenge, "We need to learn to think in a new way," Student Pugwash provides students with the knowledge and analytic skills necessary to translate their concern about the future into viable solutions. In areas ranging from medicine to international security to environment, our programs explore fundamental issues of justice, equity, and progress. Consensus is neither sought nor expected and Student Pugwash does not advocate specific policies.