PHYS 485
Dates TBA (Friday 12:30-1:20)
Tom Browder


What use is ethics? Everyone has been and will again be faced with a situation requiring ethical deliberation and judgment, either directly or indirectly. Some training in ethics is necessary for physicists because

1) It is not always obvious when an ethical situation presents itself. A situation involving ethics can be made worse by ignorance and neglect.
2) Knowledge of a decision-making process for ethical judgments can enable efficient and appropriate resolution.
3) Problems can be avoided by conducting study, work and professional life according to ethical rules or norms.
4) Ethical training builds good character by enabling good judgment.

In PHYS485 we will study ethics in physics. We will examine, review and use the guidelines of the American Physical Society. These are described in the APS guidelines website. These guidelines cover professional ethical issues in physics including research results, publication and authoring practices, peer review and conflict of interest as well as treatment of subordinates.
Students will give several powerpoint presentations on ethical issues in physics.
We will study selections of Richard Muller's book on "Physics for Future Presidents". We will discuss the ethical and public policy questions in his book and their connection to physics. There will be a series of quizzes on the selections from Muller's book.
This is a oral course (95% of the course grade), which is based on oral presentations concerning ethical issues in physics.
It also satisfies the ethics requirement.

Scheduling items:


Last modified: November 21, 2014
Tom Browder / teb#phys.hawaii.edu