William LeMessurier, one of the nation's most distinguished structural engineers, served as design and construction consultant on the innovative Citicorp headquarters tower, which was completed in 1977 in New York. The next year, after a college student studying the tower design had called him to point out a possible deficiency, LeMessurier discovered that the building was indeed structurally deficient. LeMessurier faced a complex and difficult problem of professional responsibility in which he had to alert a broad group of people to the structural deficiency and enlist their cooperation in repairing the deficiency before a hurricane brought the building down.
His story was recounted in detail in "The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis," which appeared in the May 29, 1995 issue of The New Yorker, and on November 17, 1995, LeMessurier himself came to MIT, from which he received his doctorate, to speak to prospective engineers about the decisions he had to make and the actions he took.
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A full copy of the lecture is also available for download.
All images displayed herein, unless otherwise noted, courtesy William LeMessurier.This page and supporting pages were created by Eric Plosky for Caroline Whitbeck at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A Plan for Undergraduate Education in Practical Ethics with sample assignments for engineering and science students and teaching materials from the Online Ethics Center.
This bibliography includes examples of different ways instructors have used case studies to introduce ethical topics to their students and resources for finding cases and incorporating them into the classroom.
In this essay, Dr. Whitbeck outlines an 'agent-centered' approach to learning ethics. The central aim is to prepare students to act wisely and responsibly when faced with moral problems. She provides a number of examples and cases with descriptions of questions and directions for promoting student participation and stimulating thought and discussion.
This is a syllabus for an eight-week graduate course taught by Kenneth D. Pimple for students in the physical, life, and social sciences in the responsible conduct of research. The syllabus includes a class schedule and readings, and descriptions of class exercises and oral presenatations. Also includes a bibliography of readings for class, of which many are available online.
Syllabus of an Ethics in Science class for the fall 2009 semester. Class developed and taught by Dr. Adam Briggle, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas. The course explores the ethical and policy dimensions of scientific research, addressing issues such as research integrity, peer review, authorship status, issues of trustworthiness, human subjects and animals, as well as the policy context of science, including science for policy, societal impact criteria and policy for science. This is an undergraduate level course.
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