Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University


STS Circle at Harvard

The STS Circle at Harvard meets weekly during the academic semester. For Spring 2023, all meetings are planned to take place in person on Mondays, from 12:15-2:00 p.m., in CGIS South S050, 1730 Cambridge Street unless otherwise noted. Sandwich lunches will be provided. To receive the abstract and bio for each talk, and to register to attend, please join our mailing list.

STS Circle schedule poster

Spring 2023

Jan. 30:
Jamie Wong (HASTS, MIT)
Crowdsourced Cats: Machine Learning as Culture in Chinese Governance
Feb. 6:
Sam Weiss Evans (Harvard STS & Harvard SEAS)
Governance of Security Concerns in Science
Feb. 13:
Rahul Bhatia (Harvard Radcliffe Institute)
India’s Biometric Identity Project
LOCATION CHANGE: Bell Hall, Belfer Building, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK St
Feb. 27:
Marlise Schneider (Technical University Munich & Harvard STS)
Ever Upward? Microchip Futures for New York’s Rustbelt
Mar. 6:
Arunabh Ghosh (History, Harvard)
China and Global Small Hydropower in the 1980s
Mar. 20:
Abigail Coplin (Vassar)
The Precarious Expert: Science and the State During China’s GMO Controversy
Mar. 27:
Martin Abbott (S&TS, Cornell)
Fragile New Orleans. Fortress New Orleans
Apr. 3:
Andy Murray (Harvard STS)
Democracy in a Dish? Open Insulin and the Democratization of Biotechnology
Apr. 10:
Elizabeth Dietz (ASU & Harvard STS)
No Choice But to Choose: Informed Consent, Abortion, and the Politics of Denying Politics
Apr. 17:
Larry Au (City College of New York)
Chinese Scientists and Imaginaries of Global Science
Apr. 24:
Neil Safier (Brown)
Translating the Plantationocene from the Prevolutionary Caribbean to Colonial Brazil

» More information and past schedules

Science & Democracy Lecture Series

Once a semester, the STS Program, with co-sponsorship from other local institutions, hosts an installation in its Science and Democracy Lecture Series.

Marcia K. McNutt event poster

Marcia K. McNutt

With panel discussion by Jason Furman, James H. Stock, and Latanya Sweeney.

March 23, 2022, 5:00pm-7:00pm ET

Democracy is famously described, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, as "government of the people, by the people and for the people." But how can leaders and policy makers know that the decisions they make are in the best interests of the people? Science is the only tool that humankind as devised for reliably peering into the future to determine how the laws of natural and human nature will play out under different policy and management options. It is not the role of science to prescribe what the policies should be, as there are factors other than science that must be weighed by leaders in any decision. However, by predicting what outcomes will ensue under different options, members of the public and others can ask: “Is this outcome compatible with our values?” The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was established by Abraham Lincoln to provide science-based advice to better inform decisions on national security and the wellbeing of American citizens. In the more than 150 years since its founding, the NAS has weighed in on the challenges of the times, and we have emerged stronger thanks to this advice.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

» Lecture series archive

Workshops and Panels

2023 STS Research Seminar event poster

Jan 17-21, 2023, 10am-4pm
Harvard Kennedy School, Wexner Building, G-02

The STS Program invites graduate students--particularly engineers and STS Secondary Fielders--to sign up for an innovative research seminar designed to enable you to better understand and engage with the institutional channels through which research finds its way into applications and policy, and how social and ethical factors affect aspects of your research. This Seminar may count as a course for the purposes of the STS Secondary Field upon completion of an additional paper. No other course credit will be offered.  

» Workshops and panels archive

Program news

Learn about the Harvard STS Secondary Field at our Open-House, Thursday, Dec 1, 2022, Nye A, 5th Floor, Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK from 4:30 - 6:30 PM. Refreshments will be served.

The STS program celebrated its 20th anniversary with a symposium on Science, Technology and the Human Future, Nov 3-5, 2022.

Read the Future Humans anthology, a multi-media speculative fiction curated for the 20th Anniversary of the STS program.

Mak Takahashi's exhibit, Picturing the Invisible, was awarded the 2022 Ziman award by the European Association for the Study of Science & Technology (EASST).

“We need more urgently to seize back the political discourse on life that has empowered this court to present a massively retrograde decision as if it stands on moral high ground,” says Sheila Jasanoff about the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion.

Sheila Jasanoff wins Holberg Prize, one of the the world’s most prestigious awards in the social sciences.

This year's Science and Democracy Network meeting was held at Harvard from July 27-30, 2022. Check the SDN website for meeting details.

Congratulations to Annelisa Kingsbury Lee for winning this year's STS Undergraduate Essay Prize for her paper on "Ultrasupercritical Coal as Viral Technology: The Chinese Case."

Honorable mentions for this year's STS Undergraduate Essay Prize were Lauren Fadiman for her essay "5G Conspiracy Theories and Biopolitics in the Vernacular," and Emma Forbes for her paper on "Commodifying and Depoliticizing Robot Dogs."

If you missed the latest Science and Democracy Lecture with Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences, you can rewatch it here.

» Program news archive