A Hippocratic Oath for geologists?

Ruggero Matteucci, Guido Gosso, Silvia Peppoloni, Sandra Piacente, Janutz Wasowski


We argue here that the introduction of an ethical code of conduct that follows the example of the Hippocratic Oath of physicians will help geologists to acquire binding awareness of their professional and social responsibilities. The ethical behavior and obligations of modern geologists involve, but are not limited to, the following issues: correct land/ environment use and management; respect of truth and science; and protection of the Earth systems, on both the local and global scales, and therefore, of our well-being. We believe that for geoligists, the explicit acceptance of an ethical code will help to promote: (i) an awareness of their social role, expertise and sense of belonging to a professional community; (ii) an understanding of the expectations of citizens and society; and (iii) cultural growth, with better use of research and implementation of scientific and professional skills. All this should enhance the public recognition of the social mission of geologists, which is essential for the well-being of society. Therefore, we suggest that like in the majority of medical schools, ethical training should be a part of the university curriculum for students in geology.


Hippocratic Oath; Geologists; Geoethics; Social responsibility

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-5650
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X