Make your own free website on

Freedom of Expression Committee

Letter to UofO Pres. Gilles Patry, from Jeff Schmidt, 9 April 2007
Response from the Government of Ontario
REGISTRATION: 2007 AC as Protest
About the Activism Course
Letter: ES Exec to Dean - March 2007
Letters of Support 2006
Letters to Patry in 2007
Replies from Patry 2007
Call to Action
Action Campaigns
Campagnes en franÁais
Student Legal Actions
Press Releases
Contact Us

Jeff Schmidt,
Author of "Disclipined Minds"

Dear Dr. Patry,

I am writing to congratulate you for offering a course in your science faculty that engages students in the important debates at the interface between science and society. Your decision to assign a physics researcher to teach a science-and-society course reveals your awareness of a vital lesson of the last century: that it is dangerous for scientists to focus exclusively on their technical work and leave it to others to decide the associated moral and political issues.

That lesson, well stated, for example, by the physicists who founded the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, seems to have been forgotten by less enlightened university presidents, who are most comfortable when members of their science faculty behave like service intellectuals who know their place.

As a physicist and author of a book on science education, I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker in the course last semester. (I need not tell you that I am talking about physics professor Denis Rancourt's Science in Society course, because it is the only course of its kind in the science faculty.) It was great to find that the students and community members in attendance were motivated not by grades and careerism, but by genuine interest in the subject and in making the world a better place.

Would you please let me know how you plan to support this course in the future?

Best wishes,

Jeff Schmidt

Washington, D.C.

see also: Reply to Jeff Schmidt from UofO Pres. Gilles Patry, 11 April 2007

back to: Letters to Patry 2007