Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Holden Thorp on The Role of Science in Our Changing World

Air Dates: January 23-29, 2023

Science is under assault—on social media, on our airwaves, and sometimes even around our dinner tables.  Holden Thorp discusses the role science can and should play in an era of profound challenges, like climate change, pandemic disease, and profound changes in technology’s relationship with humanity.

Holden Thorp has been the Editor-in-Chief of the “Science” family of journals in 2019. He came to “Science” from Washington University, where he served as provost and continues to serve as the Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor, holding appointments in both chemistry and medicine.  A North Carolina native, Thorp earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1986 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1989 at the California Institute of Technology, working with Harry B. Gray on inorganic photochemistry.  He completed postdoctoral work at Yale University with Gary W. Brudvig, working on model compounds and reactions for the manganese cluster in the photosynthetic reaction center.   In his research career, Thorp studied electron-transfer reactions of nucleic acids, developed technology for electronic DNA chips, and cofounded Viamet Pharmaceuticals, which developed VIVJOA (oteseconazole), now approved by the FDA and marketed by Mycovia Pharmaceuticals. Thorp is the coauthor, with Buck Goldstein, of two books on higher education: “Engines of Innovation: The Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century” and “Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership Between America and its Colleges and Universities.”

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Thorp discusses the mission of the “Science” family of journals.  He says, while some people read new scientific research in science journals, most get their information from news stories about those studies.  He says its biggest impacts are made when other media outlets cover research published in “Science” or the American Association for the Advancement of Science and they “work very hard to make sure it’s done accurately.”

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.