Science & Society 2: Knowledge for the People

Knowledge is power. Power to the people. Knowledge for the people.

We live in a world of increasingly digitized, editable, and bifurcating information sources, of exponentially accelerating knowledge production. We live in a world of increasing inequality, and of spin and fabrications finding megaphones so large they spread further than facts. While the terms “open access,” “open source,” and “open data” proliferate, so too do paywalls, patents, and information deemed proprietary. Access to reliable information is fundamental. Experts increasingly find themselves undervalued. The role of libraries is evolving. Our guests Katherine Maher, executive director of Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia), and Nick Higgins, chief librarian of Brooklyn Public Library, join series host Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson to grapple with the future of public knowledge in a changing technological and socio-political landscape.

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Katherine Maher is executive director of Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia. Her expertise is at the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy, and international development.

Nick Higgins is chief librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, in charge of public services across Brooklyn’s 59 libraries. He created a citywide library-based video visiting service for kids with incarcerated parents.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, science scholar at Pioneer Works, adjunct professor at NYU, and founder and CEO of the conservation consultancy Ocean Collectiv.


This project is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.