The Center for Ethics in Science & Technology brings the public and scientists together to explore how science can best serve society. Through forums, projects, and resources, the Center gives all stakeholders an opportunity to share perspectives on the ethical implications of new developments in science and technology.

Target Audience

The Center for Ethics in Science & Technology welcomes anyone who is open to learning new ideas and listening to viewpoints different from their own. Our primary audiences are: (1) members of the public interested in the ethical implications of science and technology and (2) science and technology innovators who are eager to connect with the public.


The conception of the Center was the result of conversations in 2003 convened by Peter Ellsworth of the Legler Benbough Foundation, with Michael Kalichman, UC San Diego, Larry Hinman, University of San Diego, and Sara Burke, San Diego Science and Technology Center, UCSD.

To determine the needs of our regional community, the first task was hosting a stakeholder event to seek input from community leaders about ways in which The Center for Ethics in Science & Technology could assist them. The event featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Thomas Murray, President of the Hastings Center, on September 8, 2003.

The Center for Ethics in Science & Technology was founded in 2004 with an informal executive committee, consisting of Kalichman, Hinman, and Burke, with Andrea Paik as the senior coordinator. Shortly thereafter an initial Steering Committee was formed, which included the members of the executive committee plus Peter Ellsworth (Legler Benbough Foundation), Christian Crews (Waite Foundation), Chris Todd (President, San Diego Bar Association), and Mark Trotter (Parker Foundation).

Shortly thereafter various focus group events were convened, including one with San Diego religious leaders March 1, 2004, and again on on April 23, 2004, in conjunction with a second stakeholder event, at which Dr. William Hurlbut (Stanford) delivered the keynote address. A subsequent focus group was convened with media leaders on May 4, 2004, under the leadership of Kate Callen (Speech Writer and Internal Communications Director for the Chancellor, UC San Diego).

During the period of 2004-2007, the Center convened a variety of ad hoc programs on multiple topics, including stem cell research, end of life decision-making, digital privacy, organ donation, ethics and computing, use of the Internet, and neuroethics. Stem cell programs resulted in a guest edited issue of the journal Stem Cell Reviews. The neuroethics events culminated in a guest edited issue of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics. Then, in 2008, the Center adopted the current format of monthly programs at the Fleet Science Center. Beginning in December 2011, these programs are now typically covered by UCSD TV.