Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

Making Science Work

Sir Paul Nurse

President, Royal Society of London; Director, UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; Nobel Laureate

February 6, 2013, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Pfizer Lecture Hall, Mallinckrodt Chemistry Lab B23, 12 Oxford Street


The discovery of new scientific knowledge and the application of scientific knowledge, are sometimes presented as being very different from each other. The fact is, however, that scientific enquiry has always been concerned both with acquiring knowledge of the natural world and of ourselves, and with using that knowledge for the public good. But science should not be judged solely in a utilitarian manner. Making science work for human benefit requires making good decisions about what scientific research should be supported and giving good scientific advice for public policy. Video of this lecture is located here.


Eric Lander

Broad Institute and Biology, MIT

Lisa Randall

Physics, Harvard University

Charles Rosenberg

History of Science, Harvard University

Moderated by

Sheila Jasanoff

Harvard Kennedy School

About the speaker

Sir Paul Nurse is a British geneticist and cell biologist. He became the 60th President of The Royal Society in December 2010. As a geneticist, he studied the mechanisms which control the division and shape of cells. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the key protein regulators of the cell cycle. He has been Professor of Microbiology at the University of Oxford, CEO of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK, and President of The Rockefeller University, New York. Since 2011, he has been Director and CEO of the Francis Crick Institute in London. Nurse has received the Royal Society's Copley Medal (2005), the French Legion d’Honneur (2002), and is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006).  He was knighted in 1999 for services in cancer research and cell biology.


A video of the Nurse talk can be viewed here: