Get political, scientists

A former Congressman, speaking at a meeting of researchers, policy makers, and advocates last Friday (May 9), urged scientists to become intimately involved in the political process. And he encouraged the nation's scientists to do much more than just cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in upcoming elections. "Get inside their campaigns and then press to get science in their messages to voters,"

By | May 12, 2008

A former Congressman, speaking at a meeting of researchers, policy makers, and advocates last Friday (May 9), urged scientists to become intimately involved in the political process. And he encouraged the nation's scientists to do much more than just cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in upcoming elections. "Get inside their campaigns and then press to get science in their messages to voters," said linkurl:John Porter,; who represented Illinois' 10th District for 21 years, at the linkurl:AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy; held in Washington, D.C. last week. Porter told scientists that the way to get science policy and funding issues onto the political radar in this heated election year is to "get outside your comfort zone and get in the game." He instructed scientists to call their favorite candidate - whether they are running for local, state, or national office - and offer their services. Porter said to call a candidate and ask to be a part of his/her scientific advisory committee. "If they don't have one," he said, "tell them you'll make them one." Porter, a self-described "science advocate" who won the 2000 linkurl:Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award; for promoting medical research, also said he believed that the director of the federal linkurl:Office of Science and Technology Policy; should be a member of our next president's cabinet. Currently this is not a cabinet-level linkurl:position.; Porter also suggested other ways for scientists to linkurl:affect science policy.; He advised writing linkurl:op/ed pieces,; creating blogs, and even taking local science reporters to lunch to inform them of your research and views (an excellent idea in my opinion). "Use your creative powers to think of ways to bring the importance of science home to policy makers and the public," Porter said. Porter's speech was so charged that he rebuffed warnings from the session's moderator, __New York Times__ reporter Claudia Dreifus, that he was overrunning his 15-minute time limit. "I'm going to finish," he said after one such warning. "I want to get the message out." At one point, Porter deadpanned: "Run for office yourself." After a pregnant pause, the audience erupted in giggles. Porter closed his speech by saying, "Science needs you. Your country needs you. America needs you in the public arena fighting for science." A rousing eruption of applause followed before Porter, who is now a partner at law firm Hogan and Hartson, left the stage and the forum to participate in another panel across town.


Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 5

May 15, 2008

Porter's admonition should be heeded by all who call themselves scientists. "All government is local"... that's a great place for scientists to start. I served as a planning & zoning commissioner for 5 years. My abilities to dig into details, and to step back and synthesize ideas/opinions from multiple disparate data sources was incredibly valuable to the process, to other commissioners, other elected officials, and to the public. Like it or not, we are part of the intellectual elite, and it's incumbent on us to serve others with our knowledge and abilities.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 11

May 16, 2008

I agree that the scientists(real in temperament and attitudes) and not the psuedo should actively enter politics and public governance in all countries of the world both developed and the under- developed. This will set pace to developmental activities, make people and political leaders energy conscious, enforce personal, community and public discipline, arouse awareness about hygiene and environment and attitudes towards taking life more on scientific lines rather than on blind religious faiths and nonsensible religios rituals, which are the dominant causes of most tensions in many parts of the world. Scientic governance will inculcate religious and racial tolerance within all sections of population as the fundamental laws that govern our existence on the earth are same irrespective of our place of dwelling be it the region in the arctic or tropical equatorial belt. As a scientist by training and profession I have absolute faith in the abilities of scientists to govern the world with genuine concern for the masses besides concern for the environment. The fruits of the labours of scientists have turned human life more enjoyable with adequate food today than it was in the last century. It is the Greed of the economists for earning more and more that has lead to exploitation in all spheres of human endeavour.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 17, 2008

It is our duty as well as our right as scientists, teachers, and philosophers to make changes in governance for the benefit of all mankind as well as ourselves. Evolution has taught us that fast changes can cause unexpected grievences and chaos. Therefore the changes we make must start off slow and progress towards greatness at a predicable acceleration. The best path towards long term change is the further education of those that will make changes. We must educate ourselves to our maximum potential while at the same time educating those that will lead the way when we are gone.

May 18, 2008

I can understand that politic is important for science and scientific research, especially for inside a country. For example, military government relies on military research and other researches are not important for them. In third world country (as my country), there is no private fund or grants for research. Government is only responsible for preparing funds and grants. But usually, there are more important subjects than scientific researches in this type of country such as earthquake, food, military,religious and bureaucracy. \nIn fact, politic is the worst for scientific matters in the third world countries. I am living in third world country. I hate politics. As you may know, USA (Europe and other countries) did boycott our country for many resources including military, foods, industries, agricultures and even scientific. I understand military, maybe industries etc. but, I do not understand why they boycott publishing our scientific papers, giving materials for scientific researches or getting visa for participating in international scientific congress. We are damaging bidirectional, inside (our country) and outside (boycott). It is interesting that only people and scientists have been damaged. Most of the time, scientists immigrate to other country, but all of them can not. \nI really request from great scientists if they can have impact on governors, please inform them about this subject. I hope one day, most of governors be scientists not politicians. \n
Avatar of: Sergio Stagnaro

Sergio Stagnaro

Posts: 59

January 31, 2009

As demonstrates today science history, spreading no politically correct medical advances is more difficult to realize than scientific discoveries themselves. For instance, the discovery of a clincal tool, reliable in bedside detecting both oncological predisposition and onset cancer, will certainly spread among physicians and normal individuals with paramount difficulty. Thats accounts for the reason there is an article (ask whose title sounds: Middle Ages of today?s Medicine, Overlooking Quantum-Biophysical-Semeiotic Constitutions and Related Inherited Real Risk. Nobody has falsified it until now, commenting it.

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