In the Balance: Bringing Science to Justice

With David Faigman

Check upcoming programs for dates and times
Exploratorium, Pier 15, Bay Observatory Gallery


The fields of science and the law pervade modern society, and yet largely exist in separate spheres. Where scientists seek truth, the law seeks justice, two laudable goals, but which often overlap only marginally. Clearly the law works with different objectives, values, and timetables than does science. And science can never say what is fair and just. However, in today’s technological world, science has become, and will forevermore be, a legal tool for justice.

In a unique collaboration between the Exploratorium and UC Hastings College of the Law, In the Balance examines the numerous, complex, and fascinating issues arising at the intersection of these different systems. From the use of brain imaging to detect lies and assess blameworthiness, to the reliability and validity of forensic science, to the effects of unconscious bias on police officer behavior, the list goes on virtually without end.

Join host David Faigman, one of the world’s preeminent experts on the law’s use of science, as he engages scientific and legal experts on some of the most vexing issues of the day. Gather evidence and add to the discussion with your own questions and observations.


David L. Faigman is the Chancellor and Dean, and the John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including two books written for a general audience: Laboratory of Justice: The Supreme Court’s 200-Year Struggle to Integrate Science and the Law (2004) and Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law (1999). Professor Faigman has been widely cited by scholars and courts, including several times by the United States Supreme Court. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that investigated the scientific validity of polygraphs and is a member of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Network.