The Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) was co-founded in 1999 by scientists Mae-Wan Ho and Peter Saunders to provide critical yet accessible and reliable information to the public and policy makers.
ISIS aims to reclaim science for the public good; to promote a contemporary, holistic science of the organism and sustainable systems; and influence social and policy changes towards a sustainable, equitable world. ISIS is a partner organisation of the Third World Network based in Penang, Malaysia, and works informally with many scientists who are members of ISIS or of the Independent Science Panel that ISIS initiated (see below).
ISIS works through lively reports posted on its popular website www.i-sis.org.uk, archived by the British Library since 2009 as part of UK’s national documentary heritage. The reports are circulated to a large e-mail list that includes all sectors of civil society worldwide, from small farmers in India to policy-makers in the United Nations. We publish an art/science, trend-setting quarterly magazine Science in Society, and topical in-depth, influential, and timely reports (see below) as well as monographs including Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare (1998, 1999, 2000, 2007), Living with the Fluid Genome (2003), Unravelling AIDS (2005), The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms, 3rd edition (2008); Living Rainbow H2O (2012).
ISIS also initiates major campaigns from time to time:
World Scientists Open Letter, February 1999, calling for a moratorium on genetically modified (GM) organisms, ban on patents on life, and support for sustainable agriculture; eventually signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php
Independent Science Panel, constituted May 2003, consists of dozens of scientists from many disciplines. Its report, The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World, calling for a ban on GM crops and a comprehensive shift to sustainable agriculture was presented in the UK Parliament and European Parliament, circulated worldwide, and translated into 5 or more languages.
Sustainable World Global Initiative, launched April 2005, http://www.i-sis.org.uk/SustainableWorldInitiativeF.php, held its first international conference 14/15 July 2005 in UK Parliament, followed by a weekend workshop 21 January 2006, out of which came a proposal for an innovative food and energy self-sufficient ‘Dream Farm 2’ for demonstration/education/research purposes. Its first report, Which Energies?, appeared in 2006, followed by a second definitive report, Food Futures Now (2008) showing how organic agriculture and localized food and energy systems can provide food and energy security and free us from fossil fuels. The third and final report, Green Energies - 100% Renewable by 2050 (2009) was also launched in UK Parliament November 2009, and struck a chord among politicians and opinion formers. It marks the turning point in the world’s commitment to green renewable energies.
Reclaiming Beauty and Truth in Science and Art, was launched in a unique art/science event 26-27 March 2011, when a wholefoods factory was transformed overnight into an art gallery and music/lecture hall around the theme of ‘quantum jazz’, the sublime aesthetics of quantum coherence in living systems and the living universe http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Avant_Garde_ArtScience_Event.php. The event was marked by a commemorative volume of essays and artworks, Celebrating ISIS, Quantum Jazz Biology *Medicine*Art, a Quantum Jazz Art DVD of artworks with a special selection of music, plus four DVDs of performances and interviews at the actual event itself. Our second act was an extended art/science/music festival, Colours of Water, 12-28 March 2013, a resounding success featuring an amazing cast of scientists, artists, musician, and other social leaders from around the world, all inspired by water and aiming to raise awareness on sustainable water use and conservation (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/coloursofwater/).
Article first published 01/01/01
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