Should geophysicists (such as the typical readers of this column) be expected to feel any kind of professional responsibility, beyond the (fully legitimate) interests of themselves and their employers, to society at large? While all must seek their own answers to this, I would like to use this question as a starting point for some reflections on the role of science in general in society and on our societal roles as professional geophysicists.

The times when science could enjoy a pivotal and more or less unquestioned role in society are over, and no regrets should be felt in that respect....

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