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"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and its relevance to Sustainability Science
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012, 15:00 - 16:30 at UNU-IAS in Yokohama

Reflections on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and
Its Relevance for the Field of Sustainability Science

Govindan Parayil
Director of UNU-IAS and Vice-Rector of UN University


Seminar Description

In August 1962, the University of Chicago Press published a monograph entitled, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which was written by an unknown academic by the name of Thomas Kuhn. Most people may have never heard of this book, which is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. However, the ideas that Kuhn put forth in this short book may have influenced their thinking about the way they look at and try to make sense of the world. One of the most cited and, often, used and misused phrase, “paradigm shift”, originated in this influential work. Kuhn’s book set off vigorous and contentious debates on how the scientific enterprise works, how science develops, changes and progresses, and what sorts of theories and methods are used or ought to be used in the sciences (natural and social sciences). This seminar will shed light on whether the ideas that Kuhn had promulgated in The Structure are still useful and relevant in the twenty-first century for us for addressing questions related to the research on sustainability as we understand this term in such emerging fields as sustainability science. The seminar will look at the whole issue of theories and methods in conducting studies and research in the sciences with particular focus on the emerging field of sustainability science.


Programme

15:00 - 15:45

Reflections on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Its Relevance for the Field of Sustainability Science
Govindan Parayil (Director of UNU-IAS and Vice-Rector of UNU)

15:45 - 16:30

Discussion


Speaker's Biography

Govindan Parayil, an Indian national, joined the United Nations University as Vice-Rector in August 2008, and as Director of United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies in January 2009. He currently serves as both Director of UNU-IAS and Vice-Rector of UNU. Prior to joining UNU, he had been serving as full Professor with the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo (Norway) since 2004, where his research focus was on science, technology, innovation and sustainability. He served concurrently as Director of Research and Leader of the Innovation Group for two years. Prior to that, he was the Head of the Information and Communications Management Programme and member of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore (2001–2004). He was also on the faculty of the Division of Social Sciences of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1994–2001). His previous academic affiliations include Cornell University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), and the University of Sulaimaniyah (Iraq).

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Calicut (India), a Master of Science degree (Science, Technology and Values) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), a Master of Arts degree (Development Economics) from American University (USA), and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (USA). He authored Conceptualizing Technological Change (1999) and edited Kerala: The Development Experience (2000) and Political Economy and Information Capitalism in India (2006), and has written numerous book chapters and articles in international journals. His newest book (co-edited with A.P. D'Costa) on The New Asian Innovation Dynamics: China and India in Perspective was published in January 2009. He is active in research and advocacy work in science, technology and innovation for sustainable societies.


Registration is free and open to the public. For further information, please contact UNU-IAS at unuias[at]ias.unu.edu or 045-221-2300.
Registration is closed.
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