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BAE’s Big Bang

big bang bae.bmpIf you were an arms manufacturer – sorry “global defence company” – would you sponsor a science event called ‘The Big Bang’?

Well BAE Systems did. And campaigning group Scientists for Global Responsibility is not happy about it.

“The high-profile involvement of BAE Systems in this event sends completely the wrong message to young people,” says Stuart Parkinson, executive director of the group. “It encourages them to associate science and technology with war, the arms trade and nuclear weapons.”

The event itself will see 10,000 students and teachers converge in London in March to be inspired by science and engineering. Given how many researchers BAE employees it would seem a good bet that some of these students will end up working for the company.

Other military linked event-sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Thales, and the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Engineering & Science Group.

Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of event-supporter the British Science Association, does not seem bothered by the flack. “All partners, from both the public and private sector, are working together to provide an unprecedented array of compelling and engaging shows, workshops and presentations across the entire science and engineering spectrum; a feast of activity in National Science and Engineering Week,” he told Nature News.

Maybe they can run a special workshop at the event: science funding and ethics. Then students can make up their own minds about whether or not it’s acceptable to take money from the “global defence” industry. And could it hurt to give Scientists for Global Responsibility a booth at the show? You could site them next to BAE.


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