Daniel A. Vallero

American scientist

Daniel Alan Vallero (September 5, 1953 –) is an American engineer, scientist and author, known for his work in environmental science and environmental engineering at Duke University and the U.S. government. He has also written and lectured extensively on professional ethics, especially engineering ethics, environmental ethics and the ethics of technology.


  • Since the 1980's, we have been concerned about acceptable risk, but I believe that we have now entered the era of acceptable uncertainty.
  • Quoted during statement at "The Society for Risk Analysis Policy Forum: Risk Governance for Key Enabling Technologies". Venice, Italy. March 2, 2017.
  • Moral relativism is an easy and sloppy way to deal with personhood.
  • Scientific advances can wreak havoc with social values. What appears to be advanced thinking at times turns out to be retrograde attempts at dehumanization. Advances in technology can be used to commoditize human beings. Genetic fetal testing, for example, can be used to screen against the "unfit".
  • From: D.A. Vallero (2007) "Biomedical Ethics for Engineers: Ethics and Decision Making in Biomedical and Biosystem Engineering" ISBN: 978-0-7506-8227-5.
  • I believe synthetic biology forces society into the chaos of ethics. And, I believe that every connotation of "chaos" applies to the ethics of synthetic biology. Researchers must decide if a particular endeavor is ethical because, of course, mistakes can result due to the unpredictability of these very complex systems. I also believe that the original Greek and the Genesis, Chapter 1, understanding of formlessness applies, since scientists are trying to move to the simplest creatures possible, so-called "chassis bacteria", onto which they can add desirable traits at their choosing. Finally, I believe that the mathematical connotation of chaos applies, since even the most simple living creature is a dynamical system that is highly sensitive to initial conditions. I sometimes wonder about the extent to which those most intimately involved and those strongly advocating synthetic biology think about this.
  • Class notes from Vallero's optimization course at Duke University. 2017.
  • You often hear that the language of science is mathematics. I don't completely agree with the article. I don't think it is a definite article. Mathematics is "a" language of science. But, it is only "a" language of science. The language of science is English. The language of science is Spanish.
  • Acceptance speech, Alumni Achievement Award, Collinsville, Illinois. 2017.
Wikipedia has an article about: