Ethical Issues in Physics

Informational Site

Hosted by the Eastern Michigan University

Department of Physics and Astronomy





Other Physics

Other Ethics




The mission of this site is to help physicists easily locate material pertaining to ethical issues in physics.  I donÕt promise a thrilling site with lots of graphics and animations.  I assume if you are here that you are already motivated to be looking at this information and donÕt need marginally related imagery to keep your attention.  Having lived with dialup service for a decade, I am particularly sensitive to unnecessary graphics.  Here is the one and only image I am posting on this site:





























So why include this picture of a waterfall, aside from the fact that it is a shameless plug for Wagner Falls in MichiganÕs Upper Peninsula?  A cursory way of looking at a waterfall is to describe it as flowing water experiencing a sudden loss in height.  There is far more detail in a waterfall when one examines it closely: multiple pathways that the water follows, numerous ledges of various shapes, varying flow rates, and plenty of turbulence.  This complexity makes each waterfall a unique experience for waterfall fans such as me.  Some physicists dismiss the study of ethical issues in the profession in much the same way as one who would dismiss a waterfall as merely a sudden drop in elevation.  That is, there is a tendency to state the obvious (ÒDonÕt falsify your dataÓ) and leave it at that.  Ethical issues have much more complexity, and each case study, whether real or fictional, is a unique experience.  My hope is that the information this site leads to will provide a faithful representation of the complex world of ethical issues in physics.


For my perspective on essentials in ethics education, follow this link.


If you are looking for articles and books that can be used in ethics education, I have a 700+ source annotated bibliography.


Proceedings from two workshops on ethical issues in physics (1993, 1996) are here.  While elements of some articles are a bit dated, they were all written with ethics education in mind.


Several organizations do an excellent job of maintaining links to a wide range of other sources related to ethics in science.  This page lists some of them.


Finally, I have collected relevant links from sites maintained by physics organizations such as the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics.



This site is hosted on an Eastern Michigan University server, but is not an official EMU web site. The material on this site is not officially approved, licensed, sponsored or endorsed by Eastern Michigan University. The University assumes no express or implied responsibility for any component of this site, including content, presentation, usability, accessibility, accuracy or timeliness, nor of any links directed from this site. For information about this web site, please contact Marshall Thomsen.


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