San Jose State University, Department of Economics
DAVID S. SAURMAN PROVOCATIVE LECTURE SERIES
Bruce N. Ames
"Cancer Risks: Government Myths and Scientific Reality"
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Engineering 189, San Jose State University
STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC ARE ALL WELCOME TO ATTEND.
Concern over cancer and other degenerative diseases only mounts as baby
boomers age. The government and the legal system focus enormous attention
on the alleged risks from synthetic chemicals. But is this focus
misplaced? Professor Ames has devoted much of his career to the study of
cancer and aging. He concludes that dietary imbalances, hormonal factors,
infections or inflammations, and genetics are far more significant than
environmental chemicals, with the notable exception of tobacco and lung
cancer. Politicians, bureaucrats, and environmental activists tend to
allocate large amounts of money to small hypothetical risks, thereby
diverting resources, distracting the public, and damaging public health.
The poor, in particular, are ill served by a misallocation that slights
the benefits possible from inexpensive improvements in nutrition.
Bruce N. Ames is a Professor of the Graduate School in Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and a Senior
Scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. Prior to
assuming his position at Berkeley, he worked at the National Institutes
for Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He is a member of the National Academy
of Sciences and was on their Commission on Life Sciences. Professor Ames
was also a member of the board of directors of the National Cancer
Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, from 1976 to 1982. The
recipient of over a dozen scientific awards, including the Tyler
Environmental Prize (1985), the Glenn Foundation Award of the
Gerontological Society of America (1992), the U.S. National Medal of
Science (1998), and the American Society for Microbiology Lifetime
Achievement Award (2001), he has over 500 professional publications and
ranks among the few hundred most-cited scientists (in all fields).
ABOUT THE DAVID R. SAURMAN PROVOCATIVE LECTURE SERIES: The Department of
Economics invites students, faculty, and the general public to consider
intellectual arguments on controversial topics. Presenters in the
Provocative Lecture Series are noted for their outstanding scholarship and
public speaking ability. This lecture series fosters the tradition of
higher education to challenge ideas and develop critical thinking in an
environment of respect and intellectual discourse. Our goal is for you to
develop the critical thinking skills necessary to reach your own informed
position on controversial issues. We invite you to attend, to relax, to
ponder, and to enjoy the thought process.