STEM professionals make decisions that impact society in a wide variety of ways. Making thoughtful decisions often requires them to consider a complex set of real-world implications that can impact multiple stakeholders, and there may not be a single "best"solution to be discovered. These decisions can also be political in nature. In contrast, science is often portrayed as being purely objective and apolitical. Physics instruction often reinforces this portrayal by focusing exclusively on physics content knowledge and skills. Some physics programs have been expanding to include technical skills that are relevant in the workforce, and this expansion likely benefits students in their careers. But undergraduate physics programs, and STEM courses generally, rarely prepare students to grapple with the types of complex, ethical decision-making that they will encounter in STEM.
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Physics and Astronomy
Alice Olmstead, Brianne Gutmann, Egla Ochoa-Madrid, Alexander Vasquez, Ciana Pike, and Daniel Barringer. "How Can We Design Instruction to Support Student Reasoning about Physicists' Ethical Responsibilities in Society?" Physics Teacher (2023): 343-350. https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0087490