WASHINGTON—The American Geophysical Union, a 20,000-member scientific society best known for its journals and professional meetings, is becoming more active in shaping federal policy on Earth and space science research.

AGU’s higher proffle includes polling its members on science policy questions and setting priorities for geophysical research. It may eventually include active lobbying on Capitol Hill.

Until recently, the 70-year-old non-profit organization has focused almost exclusively on dissemmating research results among its own membership, whose interests range from oceanography to space plasma physics. Through publications like the Journal of Geophysical Research and its annual fall and spring meetings, AGU historically has stressed communication among tha varied disciplines of Earth and space science.

The first step in AGU’s efforts to promote geophysics to the public is a series of membership polls, said Leslie Meredith, who joined AGU this summer as its first director of research programs. This month members are being...

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