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Event Details

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Big Questions 2021 in Chicago

How can we increase trust in scientific advances that address societal problems? 

The pandemic and the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine have highlighted the importance of science and research in our society like never before. Yet, we’ve also seen that science alone doesn’t have all the answers. There are human dynamics that influence the degree to which people trust data. For example, the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine haven’t been enough to persuade all eligible people to take it. Other examples remind us that scientific advances sometimes result in unanticipated negative outcomes, such as environmental contamination from plastic substances. The past few years have forced us to reckon with the ethics and politics around science. What can we do to increase trust in the scientific process, and how can we prevent new technologies from creating unanticipated problems?

Join Dr. Dennis Cao and Dr. Leah Witus, assistant professors of chemistry, in conversation with President Suzanne Rivera.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Pritzker Military Museum & Library
104 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
6:30 - 7:00 PM Cocktail Reception 
7:00 - 8:00 PM Presentation 
8:00 - 8:30 PM Dessert Reception 


COVID-19 Precautions:
Macalester expects that all in-person attendees:

  • Be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to the event. We will verify this by checking proof of full vaccination and tests at the door prior to entering.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask whenever indoors at the event unless eating food or drinking a beverage.
  • Stay home if they have had a known exposure within 14 days of the Inauguration or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  • We will continue to monitor and follow the City of Chicago's protocols and update event plans as appropriate.

Big Questions are events with Macalester President Rivera, faculty, staff, and alumni that celebrate the liberal arts with thought-provoking conversations about global issues, plus opportunities to connect with your fellow alumni, parents, and friends. See all Big Questions events

There are many ways to stay connected to the Macalester community. Learn more about volunteer opportunities and consider making a gift to the Macalester Fund. A Macalester education equips students with multifaceted 21st-century skills to tackle complex problems at home and abroad. Making a gift to the Macalester Fund

Contact: [email protected]

Audience: Alumni, Faculty, Parents and Families, Staff, Students

Admission: Free

Sponsors: Advancement, Alumni Engagement, President, Special Events

Listed under: Alumni Events, Front Page Events


Pritzker Military Museum & Library
104 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603