Politicking for Science

Long before he became a physicist, Rush Holt embraced politics. The son of a US senator from West Virginia, Holt so enjoyed the political scene that in the seventh grade he bought his own subscription to The Washington Post. Today Holt has combined his two passions—science and politics—into one job: US Representative (D-NJ). The former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory works on three House committees, including the powerful budget committee. The scientist-

Bob Calandra
Jun 9, 2002
Long before he became a physicist, Rush Holt embraced politics. The son of a US senator from West Virginia, Holt so enjoyed the political scene that in the seventh grade he bought his own subscription to The Washington Post. Today Holt has combined his two passions—science and politics—into one job: US Representative (D-NJ). The former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory works on three House committees, including the powerful budget committee. The scientist-lawmaker says he tries to ensure that good research informs legislation. But scientists in Congress enjoy no special privileges. "The way a member of Congress gets an assignment on a choice committee, or gets the chairman to listen to a good idea, or the Secretary of State to consider an idea, is the same whether or not you are a scientist," says Holt, who is completing his second term. "It's a matter of working the...

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