Do Chemists Need Education in Professional Ethics? Lessons from Engineering

Event Date: November 29, 2021
Authors: Michael C. Loui
Journal: International Ethics in Chemistry: Developing Common Values Across Cultures
Although professional chemists confront ethical issues in both research and industrial practice, professional ethics is not systematically integrated into chemistry degree programs in colleges and universities. Graduate students in chemistry who are supported by the US National Science Foundation and by the National Institutes of Health receive some training in the responsible conduct of research, but other aspects of professional ethics are generally ignored. By contrast, to meet accreditation criteria, undergraduate programs in engineering must include instruction in professional ethics. This chapter examines whether chemistry qualifies as a profession, compares codes of ethics for chemists with codes for engineers, summarizes current efforts in professional ethics education in chemistry and in engineering, and highlights some findings from research on engineering ethics education. Practices and research in engineering ethics education might provide models for chemistry ethics education.