#Science Quotable: AAAS CEO Rush D. Holt

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To thrive, science needs the support of the society it serves, and that support must be cultivated. In 1848, a forward-looking group of scientists and advocates formed the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to promote cooperation across various scientific and technical fields and create an encouraging environment for the practice of science.

Today, however, in many places the appreciation, respect, and support for science need attention and renewal. Even as the practice of science becomes ever more advanced, the observations more precise, and the applications more prevalent, there are signs of public misapprehension, distrust, and eroding support. Who better to address this looming problem than AAAS? AAAS should remain the force for science.

-AAAS CEO Rush D. Holt in a Science editorial, “Why Science? Why AAAS?” – More at the link

Previous CauseScience posts on Rush D. Holt and AAAS

What is something that doesn’t exist that would make you a better scientist? AAAS wants to know what you want in your scientist toolbox!!

Do you have an idea for a nonexistent invention that you would use for science? OR that would make you a more effective scientist? Share your idea in this NextGen VOICES survey from AAAS.

Name and describe a currently nonexistent invention that would make you a more effective scientist.

Your invention can be realistic, futuristic, or comical, and it can aid you in any aspect of your scientific process or career.

To submit, go to http://scim.ag/NG_14

Deadline for submissions is 13 February. A selection of the best responses will be published in the 3 April 2015 issue of Science. Submissions should be 100 words or less. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

AAAS and Pew poll confirms differing opinions between public and scientists on science-related issues.

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If you haven’t already seen the public and scientist opinion poll put out yesterday by AAAS and Pew Research Center, its a must see (the featured tweet above is satire based on a CauseScience hashtag)! If you’ve been paying attention, there isn’t anything overly surprising – scientists and the general public have differing views on many science-related issues. A nice summary of the poll is here at NBCNews.com. Some major highlights of the in-depth poll include:

– Should animals be used in research? 89 percent of the scientists said yes, as opposed to 47 percent of the public.

– Is it safe to eat foods grown with pesticides? 68 percent of the scientists agreed, compared with 28 percent of the public.

– Is climate change caused mostly by human activity? 87 percent yes from the scientists, 50 percent yes from the public.

– Have humans evolved over time? 98 percent yes from the scientists, 65 percent yes from the public.

– Should more offshore oil drilling be allowed? 32 percent yes from the scientists, 52 percent yes from the public.

– Should more nuclear power plants be built? 65 percent yes from the scientists, 45 percent yes from the public.

– Should parents be allowed to decide not to have their children vaccinated? 13 percent yes from the scientists, 30 percent yes from the public.

In good news from the poll:

Science holds an esteemed place among citizens and professionals. Americans recognize the accomplishments of scientists in key fields and, despite considerable dispute about the role of government in other realms, there is broad public support for government investment in scientific research.

#Science Nerds! – Apply for AAAS Mass Media Science Fellowship #SCICOMM

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Check out the fellowship and apply here! What a terrific opportunity for people interested in science policy and advocacy!!! Applications due January 15th!

This 10-week summer program places science, engineering, and mathematics students at media organizations nationwide. Fellows use their academic training as they research, write, and report today’s headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to the public.

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Science and politics – Nature editorial and comments debate AAAS appointment of Rush Holt as partisan politics…? #science

This week’s Nature editorials include a column by Daniel Sarewitz titled ‘Science should keep out of partisan politics.‘ The article examines the possible political nature of the recent appointment of retired congressman Rush Holt as the head of the AAAS. It is definitely worth a read, and the comments are certainly worth your time!

That said, I personally have to agree with most of the commenters. Many support the AAAS appointment of Rush Holt, not as political, but as a leader who is an accomplished scientist and politician. Holt a terrific choice as leader of AAAS – he has knowledge and experience in both science and in Washington, DC politics.

I understand Sarewitz’ points, but I think they are wrongly applied to Holt’s appointment and I think it is far too late for this argument. Why should science keep out of partisan politics, when partisan politics have not kept out of science. Republicans and Democrats can all be blamed for recent decreases in science funding. However, the anti-science platforms, statements, and politics of many Republicans have done damage to science. Beyond funding cuts, they have created an atmosphere where political vitriol and lies often trump scientific evidence.

Terrific interview with retiring Congressman Rush Holt, New CEO of AAAS! #science #politics

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You may have seen the CauseScience post announcing that retiring Congressman Rush Holt will lead AAAS. This week, ABS news has posted parts of a terrific interview with Rush Holt about choosing science over lobbying. While the title of the article focuses on his Jeopardy wins, rather than his degree in physics, the interview has some inspiring and pro-science points! Very excited for Holt to start working at AAAS, but sad to lose such a staunch supporter of science in Congress. Below is a selected response from Holt to a question about the GOP and whether it is anti-science:

I think over many years, appreciation of science has slipped and education of science has slipped. I think that it shouldn’t be possible to deny and patently reject the preponderance of scientific understanding. That’s not to say every scientist is always right. But the idea that you can just flat out deny evolution or climate change or any number of things that are so well established in the science community would have been, in past years, unthinkable. Now, it’s really quite common that people will blatantly, even proudly get on the political stump and say they deny what the scientists think is right.

Retiring congressman Rush Holt to lead AAAS

Check out the news here!  Our favorite scientist-congressman will be stepping down after 8 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives to be in charge of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  AAAS is a non-profit organization and is typically known as the publisher of Science. Good luck to Rush Holt!