The Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence (PULSE) at UCLA Law was founded by Jerry Kang and Jennifer Mnookin and explores the complex and multi-faceted connections between law and science, technology and evidence. PULSE engages in cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research and innovative programming to examine how basic “facts” about our world, provided through science and credited as evidence, influence venues of law and policy making.
Since its founding in 2009, PULSE has explored questions like these, among others:
- What are the challenges and opportunities for the use of forensic science evidence, like fingerprint identification and other forms of pattern evidence?
- How can and should psychological research on implicit bias affect legal understandings of discrimination?
- How well has the Supreme Court understood the power and importance of DNA evidence?
- What role does scientific evidence play in the disputes over climate change?
PULSE offers an array of types of programming, from student-focused colloquium classes like the Law, Science and Evidence Workshop to public symposia and lectures by leading figures, to intensive, invitational workshops focused on emerging scholarship. In 2016, PULSE hosted a symposium on "Imagining the Legal Landscape: Technology and the Law in 2030." Most recently, in March 2017, PULSE held an interdisciplinary workshop on "Agency, Autonomy, and Accountability: Insights from Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence," which featured presentations and papers and included scholars in several distinct fields, including law, neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and political science, and philosophy.
PULSE also aims to produce important "consensus" papers out of some of its conferences, in which leading figures from multiple disciplines together author a ‘state of our knowledge’ article designed to help push contested fields forward by describing both current understandings and ongoing challenges.