Sunday, October 12, 2008

We live in a political world

With the economy cratering and numerous foreign policy issues to talk about the two candidates for president have not spent much time addressing science in their debates, or in their speeches for that matter.

A group called Science Debate 2008 called for a presidential debate on science that turned into a groundswell of support and over 3,400 questions were submitted that people wanted the candidates for President to answer about science and the future of America. This list was pruned down to 14 questions and both candidates (or more likely people from their staff) have answered them. You can view the answers side by side at the sciencedebate2008 website.

This week New Scientist magazine asked 11 prominent scientists and thinkers what the top of their wishlist would be for a new president (Eleven things the next president should do for science).

You might like to think how you would answer this before you look at the article. Or better still debate it with your friends. It's not hard to think of things but what is the priority? The answers are all short, from 50 to 100 words and vary quite widely.

1 comment:

Kathy Foltz said...

Great post! Recent issues of Science and Nature also take a look at the science policies of both candidates. Interestingly, Obama's science adviser is Harold Varmus, a former director of the NIH. With the funding flat lined and outdated policies on biomedical research (think "stem cell therapies") plaguing the NIH, conflict of interest scandals and the current director stepping down at the end of this month, the next few years will be quite challenging. I also wanted to pass this along to students: There are two main federal funding sources in Biology. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NIH (National Institutes of Health). The NSF is about "the health of science in the US." The NIH is about "the science of (human) health." This distinction often helps in formulating project proposals.