Where Science and Ethics Meet
Dilemmas at the Frontiers of Medicine and Biology
by Chris Willmott and Salvador Macip
June 2016, 180pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5134-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5135-3
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How do we determine if a biomedical innovation that holds promise for improving the quality of human life is worth the potential cost to society?

Through engaging case studies and clear explanations of the underlying science, this book makes the social impacts and ethical consequences of recent advances in biomedicine understandable for general readers.

Recent biomedical discoveries promise considerable improvement in the quality of human life, but they also hold the potential to permanently alter society. Are the anticipated benefits worth the price we would have to pay for them? In Where Science and Ethics Meet: Dilemmas at the Frontiers of Medicine and Biology, a biochemist and a biomedical researcher who are highly experienced in explaining ethics for lay audiences present the most innovative advances in biomedicine and enable readers to develop their own opinions about the ethical and social consequences these technologies will bring.

Each controversial topic in modern medicine and ethics is introduced through a hypothetical case study that highlights thorny ethical issues before explaining the key aspects of the science and technology involved and addressing the associated ethical considerations in detail. The interdisciplinary treatment of the topics makes the book relevant to students of science, medicine, ethics, law, and sociology as well as health care professionals.


  • Provides clear, easily understandable information for nonspecialist readers with sufficient detail to enable an understanding of the science behind the discoveries and the range of ethical problems they generate
  • Presents a dynamic mix of present or near-future case studies (fictional), scientific explanations, and discussions of ethics
  • Addresses topics that are frequently in the media, such as cloning, organ transplantation, and genetic modification, and clarifies concepts that people have heard about but may not fully understand
  • Summarizes arguments in favor and against to allow readers to form their own opinions on important ethical debates
Chris Willmott, PhD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester, UK. His principal interests are ethics of current innovations in biomedicine and media representations of science. In 2005, Willmott was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. He previously served on the education committee for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. He holds a doctorate in biochemistry and a master's degree in bioethics.

Salvador Macip, MD, PhD, is a lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester, UK, where he leads a research group on cancer and aging. His published work includes several fiction titles, popular science books, and books for children and young adults. He writes regularly about science for Spanish newspapers.


Outstanding Academic Title, 2017—Choice, January 1, 2018


"I would highly recommend this book to someone thinking about studying ethics, or simply as an entertaining read. . . . [T]he issues discussed make for stimulating conversation, and for this very reason the book would be a welcome addition on my shelf."—BioNews, November 22, 2016

"This book is a fantastic introduction to the major ethical issues facing modern science. . . . This would be an ideal textbook for biomedical ethics courses, as it offers an easily digestible initiation into the current moral dilemmas that are and will be addressed by scientific researchers, health practitioners, and society for years to come. It cannot be more highly recommended for all readers—bench scientists, medical professionals, and general readers alike. Summing Up: Essential. All readers."—Choice, January 4, 2017

"Overall, the book represents a valuable contribution to the ethics of new developments in medicine and biology. Despite the multiplicity of competing views regarding the moral standing of new biotechnologies and practices, Willmott and Macip fulfill their promise of providing epistemologically balanced tools to the reader. The authors begin each chapter by presenting an everyday story that exemplies the challenges, limits, and questions raised by the technology or practice. This approach catches the reader’s attention from the outset. Finally, the dialogical style of presenting the story earns the reader’s sympathy, certainly a useful tool to begin ethical reflection. . . . [The book] certainly represents a valuable tool for teaching ethics at the undergraduate level and for engaging a wider audience in the challenges arising from scientific and biotechnical developments."—The Biochemist, March 1, 2017

“This book is the best introduction to the topic that I have ever seen. . . . In a highly original way, it educates and engages readers in the profound issues and choices made possible by advances in biomedicine. . . .This is exactly the kind of book that can help readers think clearly about biomedical advances whose speed always seems to outstrip the capacity to analyze and weigh the ethical implications of the choices they pose.”—Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, May 26, 2017

"Where Science and Ethics Meet calls attention to both the benefits and shortcomings of the human desire to ‘play God,’ and the various implications this has for modern society as a whole. The sheer speed and vigour with which scientific research has propelled itself forward is often so blinding that we tend to forget about the negative consequences of such novel developments. Wilmott and Macip present the issues in a balanced way, leaving it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions from the information given. . . . the book [is] ideal for those already beginning their studies into the subject, or simply those curious to venture into something new. . . . Wilmott and Macip write to inform their readers on an easily understandable level, and to stimulate questions within the next generation of budding bioethicists—objectives which they achieve with ease. Anyone unfamiliar with, or new to the subject area should definitely buy a copy, as it truly is a aluable tool in learning how to approach debate, and offers a much more practically applied approach to education in bioethics than many books."—The New Bioethics, November 17, 2017

"This is a very engaging book and a perfect introduction to the minefield that is bioethics. . . . Both authors are lecturers at Leicester University and this book reflects their experience in teaching and engaging students and, as such, offers ideal material for students from a range of disciplines—science, medicine, ethics, law, and sociology. . . . There is enough meat here to satisfy anyone who wants to be better informed and to think seriously about ethics at the frontier of medicine and biology. And for those who know it all already(!) this book would be a great resource to keep to hand for talks, discussions, and teaching."—Science & Christian Belief, March 6, 2018

"This is the most readable introductory bioethics book I have ever come across. Impressively up-to-date and informative, it grips the reader with its strong sense of narrative. Strongly recommended."—Michael J. Reiss, Professor of Science Education, UCL Institute of Education

"Imaginative and enthralling. . . . With impressive expertise the authors present fascinating and user-friendly case studies for an enlightened and balanced account of pivotal bioethical debates for non-expert readers. What results is a highly original and authoritative roadmap of the moral and social implications that both clarify and potentially challenge the established norms of humanity and civilization."—Gerard Magill, Vernon F. Gallagher Chair and Professor, Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University

"The authors provide clear, well-balanced, and entertaining accounts of cutting-edge and frequently controversial topics in bioscience. I strongly recommend this original, thought-provoking introduction to bioethics that will prove of great value both to members of the general public and to those already embarked on a career in biology or medicine."—David Adams, Editor, Effective Learning in the Life Sciences. How Students Can Achieve Their Full Potential

"I commend strongly this well-written, readable, and informative book. Topics are introduced by beautifully crafted case studies followed by up-to-the-minute accounts of the related biomedical technologies, even-handed ethical discussions, and dozens of helpful text-boxes. A very valuable addition to bioethics literature."—John Bryant, Emeritus Professor of Biosciences, University of Exeter; author of Beyond Human?

"It often seems that developments in science race ahead while ethical debate is slow to catch up. Here, eight areas of cutting-edge scientific development and their related ethical debates are presented in an extremely clear and engaging manner using narratives that hook readers into the science and guide them through the ethical arguments for and against each development. I recommend this book to any reader interested in understanding the relationship between current scientific developments and ethics. Willmott and Macip urge us to reflect on the ethical impact of scientific developments and, crucially, to ask what kind of society is ethically acceptable for ourselves and future generations."—Ann Gallagher, Professor of Ethics and Care, International Care Ethics Observatory, University of Surrey

"As engrossing as any work of fiction and just as full of twists and turns, this book tackles some of the biggest ethical dilemmas we face by masterfully mixing hypothetical scenarios with real-world examples at the edge of scientific discovery. A gripping and thought-provoking read."—Luís Carrasqueiro, Chief Executive, healthtalk.org

"Written in a lively and engaging style, and enriched by intriguing case studies, this book is an invaluable introduction to bioethics. It will prove useful both for self study and for use in a wide range of courses dealing with this highly topical area. A particular merit is the book’s encouragement for readers to come to their own (now well-informed) conclusions."—Professor Alastair V. Campbell, Corr FRSE, Director, Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore

"This is a wonderfully lucid and well-organized text that will be very useful for anyone teaching bioethics to students of medicine or life sciences in school or university."—Professor Richard Ashcroft, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London
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