Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent devoted most of her research efforts to the history and philosophy of chemistry. Her recent publication, Chemistry – the impure science (coll. Jonathan Simon, 2008) emphasizes the dual nature of chemistry as an academic science and as a production of manufactured objects. She has explored the hybridization of natural structures technological functions and societal aspects in the design of new materials (Eloge du mixte, 1997, “The Construction of a Discipline: Materials Science in the U.S.A”, 2001). And con-ducted a critical analysis of the fashionable theme of “dematerialization” (Se libérer de la matière? Fantasmes autour des nouvelles technologies, 2004). She has also conducted exten-sive research on the notions of nature and artefact: she collaborated in an ‘Action Concertée Initiative’ (N°03366) on “The Nature/Artefact divide in Emerging Technologies”. She co-edited a historical volume with William R. Newmann The Natural and the Artificial: An Evolving Polarity Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2007.

From 2005 to 2008 she coordinated an ANR research program on Bionanoethics (NT05-4_44955/ANR-05-BLAN-0370-01). This project focused on nanotechnology, cloning and bioinformatics. It examined the epistemological and ethical implications of undermining traditional dualisms (nature/culture, nature/society, nature/artefact). In addition to empirical research in French laboratories, the group has organized a monthly seminar for two years, and a public workshop entitled “Pour une évaluation critique des bionanotechnologies. Perspectives éthiques et philosophiques” held in Paris, ENS, in January 2008 which has been published in a French volume entitled Bionaoéthique (Vuibert, 2008). Part of the project was dedicated to an understanding of the ontological status of nanomachines (Bensaude-Vincent, Guchet, 2007).

Over the past two academic years Bensaude-Vincent gave a research seminar at the University Paris Ouest entitled “what is a technoscience” which allowed her a critical review of the literature on the subject. She also wrote a semi-popular book Les vertiges de la technosciences, forthcoming at éditions La Découverte, April 2009.