As composer John Adams' latest opera, Doctor Atomic, opens at ENO for the first time in the UK, we will convene a panel of expert commentators to ask: what really drives scientific development?

Despite great progress and even greater possibilities for the future, many people feel uneasy about the potentially destructive applications of certain scientific advances.

Throughout history, money, power and politics have all played crucial roles in significant scientific development. So is it realistic to expect that science can ever be neutral? How do we introduce greater clarity into public debates about science and ethics? Can literature and the dramatic arts make the human dimension of science more vivid in the public imagination? Would greater understanding of this human dimension help us understand the complex pressures operating upon scientists on the cusp of ground-breaking research?

Speakers to include: John Adams, composer; Penny Woolcock, director, Doctor Atomic

Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA.

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Added by RSAEvents on February 9, 2009