On 7 December, the John Desmond Bernal Prize was awarded to Prof. Arie Rip. Rip is professor emeritus of ‘Philosophy of Science and Technology’ at the University of Twente. The Bernal Prize is awarded to scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to the interdisciplinary field of ‘Science & Technology Studies’ (STS). As one of the founding fathers of the field, Arie Rip has played a huge part, both substantively and institutionally. His efforts started at the beginning of the 1970s.
Arie Rip has dedicated himself to the field at both national and international level. One of the areas in which he was active is technology assessment. Rip introduced the ‘constructive technology assessment’ method (CTA). Using this method he and his colleagues assessed the social impact of a technology: what the advantages and disadvantages are, what it means for society and how you can give it direction at an early stage. In particular, Rip did a lot of work in the field of nanotechnology.
“I’m proud that I have been selected to join the list of Bernal Prize Awardees”, says Arie Rip. “During my career I worked passionately and with great pleasure with like-minded colleagues both in the Netherlands and abroad. In particular with my PhD graduates. Although the Bernal Prize is awarded to an individual, the history of my work bears witness to the fact that it was done as part of a group. And I’m delighted that the award of the Bernal Prize 2022 also recognises this group, in all its diversity.”
One of Arie Rip’s PhD graduates is Klaasjan Visscher. Visscher is now an associate professor at the University of Twente and head of the department in which Rip is still active (STePS – which will merge with CHEPS on 1 January 2023). “The Bernal Prize is well deserved recognition of the career of Arie Rip”, Visscher stresses. “The ideas that I and many others got from Arie are a source of inspiration on which you can draw throughout your life. He taught me to think about technological developments and how you can anticipate them. You can recognise his thought processes in many of his colleagues, past and present, and also in a broader context in our ‘people first university of technology’.”
The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) awards the Bernal Prize every year to someone who has made a special contribution to the field of STS. Previous winners include founders of the field, as well as top-level scientists who have devoted their careers to understanding the social dimensions of science and technology. Last year’s prize also went to a UT scientist. It was then Nelly Oudshoorn, professor emeritus in the same department as Arie Rip, who went home with the prize.
And this is not the first time that 4S has honoured Arie Rip for his work. In 2016 he received the Mentoring Award for supporting and mentoring many younger and older colleagues, thereby contributing – through ethical leadership and sustainable commitment – to the continuation and growth of Science & Technology Studies worldwide.