Elie A. Shneour identifies the urgent need for scientists to become advocates in his commentary entitled "United States Science Under Siege" (The Scientist, Nov. 11, 1991, page 14). I agree, and further suggest that the science community adopt new standards for public responsibility based on the reality that the continued flow of public funds depends upon the flow of value back to the public.
I propose that members of the science community dedicate one hour a week to communicating to the public. Suggestions for using this time include:
- Speaking to precollege schoolroom classes in order to break down the stereotypes of scientists that are fostered by popular culture.
- Volunteering time to charitably supported health associations or environmental or consumer groups to make it clear that research benefits the population that supports it and also to make clear that researchers are not immune to either the desire or the obligation to...
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