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On Feb. 18, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to return to Earth. The same month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced plans for the world’s first all-civilian mission to space. We are in a revolutionary era of space exploration, and humans are becoming an interplanetary species. As we continue to push the boundaries of space exploration, we must also contend with new sets of questions, challenges and opportunities that come with our ever-...
The fight against food insecurity has grown in importance over the past decade, as a growing number of underserved communities are living in food deserts — areas that have limited access to food that is both affordable and nutritious. Although the work being done to tackle food insecurity typically happens on a local level, food insecurity is a rising concern for the United States on a global scale. On March 15, Daniel Sarewitz , Arizona State University professor and Issues in Science and...
“Disruptive innovation,” a term coined by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen in 1995, describes the process by which a smaller company — usually with fewer resources — moves upmarket and challenges larger, well-established businesses in a sector. The theory of disruptive innovation has been enormously influential in business circles, particularly among Silicon Valley innovators. Unfortunately, according to Christensen himself , the theory has also been widely misunderstood, and the “...
The coronavirus pandemic, social unrest and economic turbulence defined 2020. The past year has also changed the entertainment industry dramatically — and perhaps permanently. Has the pandemic led to the disappearance of movie theaters for good? Can storytelling industries adapt and become more representative of diversity and respond to cries for racial and social justice? How will Big Tech’s entrance into streaming impact the industry? “I think (the industry) has changed forever,” said Michael...
In May 1968, 14-year-old Michael Polt arrived at New York Harbor via passenger ship after emigrating from Austria with his mother, sister and stepfather. Shortly thereafter, he developed a passion for America, leading to a lifetime career in U.S. international affairs and diplomacy. For the last eight years, Polt served as senior director at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute in Washington, D.C., where he shared his 35 years of diplomacy knowledge and experience with students and...
With decades of experience in diplomacy, negotiations, national security and leadership, retired U.S. State Department Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley and Ambassador-in-Residence Michael C. Polt joined together in the pursuit of creating a new initiative that embodies the innovative spirit of Arizona State University. The three practitioners worked with the University Design Institute to brainstorm how they could each contribute their knowledge to ASU, resulting...
About 45 million people have now received one or both doses of a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S., according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus vaccine tracker , and a subset of that number — 18 million people — are fully vaccinated, representing 5.4% of the total population in the United States. Among the most challenging aspects of vaccine rollout have been decisions about which groups to prioritize for vaccination, and in what order those groups should be prioritized — and what an equitable...
Under the worst climate change scenarios, American cities, beginning with Miami, are already experiencing rising seawater levels that mirror Ernest Hemingway’s warning about bankruptcy: “At first you go bankrupt slowly, then all at once.” The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2016 and now with 195 signatories, had aimed to avert climate catastrophe by keeping long-term global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels. And on Jan. 20, 2021, as one of his first acts...
Along with hard facts and data, science and technology policymakers must also grapple with matters of public value, like concerns about who benefits from science or how safe a new technology is. But often, only a few — experts, interest groups and other highly engaged people — end up providing direct input on these policies. For more than 10 years, researchers at Arizona State University have been studying a different way of engaging the public — one that gives a voice to those who may not have...

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