January 16, 2008

Science Political

Heard a good interview on last week's ScienceFriday about science & the presidential elections. In The Call for A Science Debate, Ira talks to Shawn Lawrence Otto, the organizer of Science Debate 2008 about Otto's effort to generate a presidential debate about science. Here's what ScienceDebate says about itself:
"Science Debate 2008 is a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a growing number of scientists and other concerned citizens. The signatories to our "Call for a Presidential Debate on Science & Technology" include Nobel laureates and other leading scientists, presidents of universities, congresspersons of both major political parties, business leaders, religious leaders, former presidential science advisors, the editors of America's major science journals, writers, and the current and several past presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many others."
Otto especially wants folks to sign their online petition to support their efforts (see who else has signed ... it's a pretty impressive list ...). They're also interested in possible questions for the candidates. Here's what I said:
One question I'd have for the candidates is how would they improve science education? It's important to have more scientists (especially women and under-represented "minorities"), but as a lay person interested in science, I think it's also important to have more people interested in science generally. How would candidates ensure that happens?
Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around the Clock has been writing about this for a while, (see his posts tagged politics), including a six-part series on questions he'd ask the candidates (his preface: "To keep the conversation about the Science Debate 2008 going, I decided to post, one per day, my ideas for potential questions to be asked at such a debate.")

I usually try to stay away from politics in my public life, but this seems like an important issue for science lovers (scientists and lay folks alike) to consider when planning a vote.

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