Biological research has led to the development of new drugs, treatments, and medical advancements that have profoundly impacted our health and way of life. But scientists essentially hold the blind trust of the public. While the scientific enterprise is mainly funded by the public, scientists generally remain out of public sight. Though they do not usually fully understand the techniques and experiments that lead to new advances, the general public holds scientists and their work in high regard and trusts that they will act in the best interest of society.
High profile incidents, such as the anthrax letters of 2001, affect the public’s view of science research. As a result of the attention to these cases, the public has become more concerned about scientific research, the possibility for its misuse and the possibility that technologies will fall into the hands of terrorists. It is therefore important for scientists to understand that reaching out and communicating with the public is essential for maintaining the public trust.