This month, MUSE magazine’s Science@Work section highlighted some of the pioneering work of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and its EthicsLab, with a special emphasis on student work.
Recommended for ages nine and above, MUSE magazine is a science and arts magazine for children that offers articles written by award-winning authors alongside high-quality illustration and photography. As part of the KIE’s larger initiative to bring the field of bioethics to a younger audience, director Maggie Little was interviewed on the impact her job, and the field of bioethics itself, have on the world MUSE readers are growing up in.
Dr. Little was asked a wide range of questions, from the definition of bioethics and its history and growth, to some of her current work, to why it’s important to be a bioethicist:
“I want to change the world. We have scientists now who have the ability to manipulate our environment at an enormous rate. When you have that kind of power, it’s no longer acceptable to think you can be a neutral scientist, following your curiosity wherever it leads. You have to take responsibility for what you’re doing. The awesome thing is, technology will have a lot of solutions for making things better. What bioethicists do is start the conversation.”
EthicsLab was also highlighted in the article, which covered how the KIE is leveraging the space to design with purpose.
Article author Lela Nargi spoke with Nico Staple, head of product development at the lab, about “experimenting with ways to make things of value.”
[The lab] was founded by … Dr. Maggie Little and a team of design colleagues in 2013 as a place where budding ethicists can think deeply and creatively to design products that solve real-world problems. To help them in this pursuit, one huge wall of EthicsLab is a whiteboard that students and professors can scrawl notes all over. Long tables are spread with paper and set with colored markers that just beg you to sit down and draw something. Bins lining the walls brim with Play-Doh and pipe cleaners and spray paint and duct tape and little figurines.
Student work from classes in EthicsLab was also featured. A student project called “Stick to the Bottle,” ongoing even after the class in which it was born has ended, aims at moving the larger Georgetown community to stick with reusable water bottles rather than continue to produce more waste. Another student group collaborated with representatives from CVS on labels and packaging designed to inspire patients to finish the full course of their antibiotics. Materials and prototypes from both are spotlighted in the article.