Monthly Archives: October 2012

Science and the Election

I’m drowning in election news. But where’s the science? This year, science and the political process seem more estranged from each other than at any time in recent memory. One after another, the Republic candidates denied their belief in evolution; meanwhile, President Obama has had little to nothing to say about what to do about climate change.

This wasn’t always the case. In the 1950s, the political parties competed to associate themselves with the prestige of science. The Democrats mainly won that battle, signing on high-profile physicists, chemists, and biologists as campaign surrogates. In 1964, the Johnson campaign could count on the support of the enormously popular “Scientists and Engineers for Johnson,” a bipartisan group that attracted major scientists from both parties—including even Eisenhower’s science advisor George Kistiakowsky.

I’ll be talking about this dramatic shift from science as political tool to political lightening rod in a public lecture sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science next Tuesday, October 23, at the Franklin Institute. RSVP and find out more here.

Hope to see you there!