While scientists contribute much to society through professional research, study, and teaching, most scientists have been trained in a professional culture that considers going outside of one's discipline - and certainly outside of scientific research and study - as being unprofessional. Getting involved in politics, of all things, is something like educational prostitution.

This tendency toward compartmentalization is one factor contributing to the gulf of mutual ignorance that exists between the scientific community, on one hand, and the political world, on the other. One of my great concerns for this country, growing out of my 24 years of elected legislative and congressional service, is the apparent inability of a large number of today's lawmakers and scientists to communicate meaningfully with each other on public policy issues involving science and technology. Examples include laws providing support for and/or regulation of education, basic research, energy research and development, environmental protection, space projects,...

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