Science Debate 2008 Set for April 18th

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Tony Rook
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Science Debate 2008 Set for April 18th

The movement to bring science as an important issue in the 2008 US presidential election has reach a milestone...

The four remaining US Presidential Candidates have been invited to debate science & economy at the upcoming ScienceDebate 2008.
Intel Chair Craig Barrett joins Science Debate 2008;
Debate to be held at the Franklin Institute before Pennsylvania Primary.

WASHINGTON, the citizens initiative calling for a presidential debate on science and technology policy, today announced that it has formally invited the presidential candidates to a debate on April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, four days before the Pennsylvania Primary. The invitation to the candidates can be found here.

"The future economic success of the United States depends on out-performing the competition with smart people and smart ideas," said Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel. "Without the best education system and investments in basic research and development we will become a second rate economic power."

This is about the future of America, said Shawn Lawrence Otto, one of the debate organizers. Most of the major policy challenges the next president will face, from climate chance to jobs and economic competitiveness to healthcare to the health of the oceans, center on science and technology. Where is the next transistor economy going to come from? Is there going to be action to address climate change? Do we need a Marshall plan for science in America? What about peak oil? Why are our school children falling behind other countries in math and science, and what should be done about it? We are trying to elevate these important policy issues in the national dialogue. We want voters to have a chance to assess candidates in terms of their visionary leadership on these big issues and others like them. Its not a science quiz, its about policy. Were talking about the health of your family, the health of the economy, and the health of the planet. What are the solutions? We hope the candidates for president will want to explore these issues more thoroughly with the American people.

The group, started in December 2007 by two out-of-work screenwriters (Otto wrote and coproduced House of Sand and Fog; fellow screenwriter Matthew Chapman wrote Runaway Jury), two scientists and a science journalist has garnered a series of impressive endorsements in recent weeks, including 97 major universities and other organizations, and leading business executives like Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, as well as dozens of Nobel laureates and current and former government officials, including members of President Bushs Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and Clinton Health & Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. It is now cosponsored by the AAAS, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The list is here.

Tony Rook
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Here is a reprint of the

Here is a reprint of the invitation sent to the US Presidential Candidates, which can also be found here.

The following invitation was sent to the viable candidates for president as of February 7, 2008. "Viable candidates" is defined as candidates who have a mathematical chance of becoming president, and who show a minimum 15% support level in the most recent national poll averages as published by If at the time of the debate an invited candidate has withdrawn or is no longer viable by the above definition, they will not participate. If a new viable candidate emerges before the debate, he or she will be invited. The invitation was therefore sent to the following candidates (in alphabetical order): Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Barack Obama.

A joint initiative of:
Science Debate Inc.
in partnership with
The National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Engineering
The Institute of Medicine
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Council on Competitiveness
The Franklin Institute

February 7, 2008

Dear Candidates for President of the United States:

We invite you to participate in Science Debate 2008, a presidential candidates debate about issues in science and technology policy that are vital to the future of America.


We are a non-partisan organization of leading universities, industry associations and other organizations, together with thousands of concerned citizens. Our members include leaders from the American education, science, medical, engineering and business communities. Our group includes Nobel Laureates and other leading scientists and engineers, university presidents, business leaders, labor leaders, economists, Members of Congress, current and former presidential science advisory committee members and science advisers and other government leaders, as well as the heads of America's major scientific and engineering organizations, and the editors of America's major science and technology publications. We are, in short, much of the American scientific and technological community.

Together, we represent tens of millions of American voters who are concerned about the future of our nation.


Science and technology are responsible for half our nation's growth in GDP over the last half century, and have changed every aspect of our lives, our economy, our health, and our environment.

The next president of the United States will face unprecedented scientific and technological policy challenges and opportunities, three classes of which poll at the top of voter concerns: the economy and economic competitiveness; healthcare; and the environment. Candidates should have ideas about what kinds of policies will best address these issues, and should inform the voters of their views.


The debate may include such policy issues as: American economic competitiveness and support for scientific research; policy approaches to climate change; clean energy; the healthcare crisis; science education and technology in schools; scientific integrity; GM agriculture; transportation infrastructure; immigration; the genome; data privacy; intellectual property; pandemic diseases; the health of the oceans; water resources; stem cells; conservation and species loss; population; the space program, and others.

This is a policy debate. It is not intended to be a science quiz. Nor are we interested in state-level battles such as the evolution versus creationism/ID debate. Our goal is to find out how aware candidates are of America's major science and technology problems and opportunities, and how they propose to offer the kind of visionary leadership and policy solutions that will tackle those challenges and ensure America's place as the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation on earth. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are such a leader.


The primary cosponsors among us are the leaders in American science, technology, health, and industry. Among the many institutions endorsing this request, the AAAS, The National Academy of Sciences, The National Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Medicine, The Council on Competitiveness, and our venue partner, The Franklin Institute, all have venerable traditions of non-partisan leadership at the juncture of science and policy in our nation's history:

* The AAAS was created in 1848 as the first permanent
organization formed to promote the development of science
and engineering in the United States, and is now the world's
largest general scientific society, serving 10 million
* The NAS was chartered by Congress and signed into being
by President Lincoln in 1863 to "investigate, examine,
experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art"
whenever called upon to do so by any department of the
* Formed in 1986 during the term of President Reagan, the
Council on Competitiveness is the only group of corporate
CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders committed to
ensuring the future prosperity of all Americans through
enhanced competitiveness in the global economy and the
creation of high-value economic activity in the United
* The Franklin Institute was formed in 1824 and is one of the
premier science centers in the United States. The Franklin
Institute excels at making science accessible to the
American public. Named after Benjamin Franklin and
located in Philadelphia, there is perhaps no place in
America that better exemplifies the juncture of science,
engineering, policy and the general public.

The debate will be held at 7PM on Friday, April 18, 2008 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is four days prior to the Pennsylvania primary. The debate is non-partisan. All viable candidates for President will be invited. It will be held even if only one candidate participates.

The cosponsors have reputations for putting on fair and informative events serving the best interests of the public and the highest principles of this nation. We intend to make the debate available for broadcast on nationwide television on April 18 and re-broadcast at a later time on both television and the internet.

The cosponsors are uniquely positioned to produce the best possible debate:

* The Franklin Institute has frequently worked with the Secret
Service and other local authorities to provide a safe
experience, and has a successful track record of producing
high profile events and programs.
* The organizations have a proven system for handling
credentials for visiting journalists and providing them with
work space.
* The questions are being determined by a bipartisan panel.
* The moderator will be a respected public figure in science
or science journalism.
* The location is convenient, scenic, and symbolic - and
immediately before the primary.

We are still putting together the format and details will be forthcoming.

We want to re-emphasize that this is a policy debate focusing on matters that are of major concern to a majority of American voters. Our aim is to elevate our national political dialogue, educate the voters, and help chart a new direction for the next period in American history.

We hope we can count on your participation.



The Science Debate 2008 Committee:

Vern Ehlers (co-chair), Republican Member of Congress
Rush Holt (co-chair), Democratic Member of Congress
Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin; former Undersecretary of the Army
Arne Carlson, former Governor of Minnesota; former chair, American Express Funds board
Matthew Chapman, screenwriter, director, science writer; President of Science Debate Inc
Austin Dacey, contributing editor, The Skeptical Inquirer magazine
Calvin DeWitt, President, Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists
James Jensen, Director of Congressional and Government Affairs, The National Academies
Sheril Kirshenbaum, marine biologist, Nicholas Institute for Env. Pol. Solutions, Duke Univ.
Lawrence Krauss, Professor of Astrophysics, Case Western Reserve University
Alan Leshner, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
James McCarthy, Professor of Oceanography, Harvard University
Chris Mooney, science writer and science blogger, The Intersection
Shawn Lawrence Otto, screenwriter/director; political consultant; CEO of Science Debate Inc
John Rennie, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific American magazine
Deborah Wince-Smith, President, Council on Competitiveness

Signed by us on behalf of the following signatory organizations, institutions, and individuals

Tony Rook
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And here is the current list

And here is the current list of signatory organizations, institutions, and individuals

Organizational signers

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Economics Group, Inc.
American Humanist Association
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Institute of Physics
American Physical Society
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
American Statistical Association
Annual Reviews
Arizona State University
The Aspen Institute
Aspen Science Center
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
Association of Science-Technology Centers
Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
Astrophysical Journal
The Biophysical Society
The Carnegie Institution of Washington
California State University,Monterey Bay
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)
Center for Inquiry
Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology
Columbia University
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Cornell University
The Council on Competitiveness
Cosmos Studios
Duke University
EarthSky Communications
Ecological Society of America
Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, & Cognitive Sciences
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Foundation for the Advancement of Behavioral & Brain Sciences
Fox Chase Cancer Center
The Franklin Institute Science Museum
Friends of the Earth
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Hastings Center
Humboldt University
Illinois Science Council
The Institute of Medicine
Issues in Science and Technology Magazine
Kavli Institute For Theoretical Physics
Kettering University
Lawrence University
Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic
Macalester College
Manhattanville College
Materials Research Society
Michigan Technological University
The National Academy of Engineering
The National Academy of Sciences
National Center for Manfuacturing Sciences
National Center for Science Education
National Postdoctoral Association
Nature Immunology
New York Hall of Science
New York University
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University
North Carolina State University
Partners HealthCare System
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Planetary Science Institute
Pomona College
Popular Science Magazine
Population Connection
R&D Magazine
The Santa Fe Institute
Science Friday, Inc
Science Magazine
Science Illustrated Magazine
The Science Network
Scientific American Magazine
The Scientist Magazine
Scientists and Engineers for America
Seed Media Group, Seed Magazine, and ScienceBlogs
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)
SETI Institute
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Skeptical Inquirer Magazine
Society for Neuroscience
Society for Science & the Public
SRI International
Stanford University
State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR)
Sunshine Week
Sweet Briar College
The Union of Concerned Scientists
University of Arizona
University at Buffalo, State University of New York
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Riverside
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland
University Of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Minnesota
University of Notre Dame
University of Washington
U.S. Metric Association
The Will Steger Foundation

Nobel & Crafoord Laureates

Peter Agre
Vice Chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003

David Baltimore
President, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology and Past President, Caltech; Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1975

Eugene Butcher
Professor of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Crafoord Prize in Polyarthritis, 2004

Eric Chivian
Director, Center For Health And The Global Environment, Harvard Medical School; co-founder, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nobel Peace Prize, 1985

Steve Chu
Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology at U.C., Berkeley, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997

Val Fitch
Particle physicist, Princeton University, worked on the Manhattan Project while in the Army; Nobel Prize in Physics, 1980

Jerome Friedman
Institute Professor & Professor Of Physics Emeritus, MIT; Nobel Prize in Physics, 1990

Peter Frumhoff
Director of Science & Policy and Chief Scientist, Climate Campaign, Union of Concerned Scientists; Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as member of IPCC)

Sheldon Glashow
The Metcalf Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Boston University, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1979

David Gross
Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, U.C. Santa Barbara; Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004

Robert Grubbs
Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, CalTech; Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2005

Dudley Herschbach
Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard University; Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1986

Roald Hoffman
Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Cornell University; Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981

Elisabeth Holland
Senior Scientist, Biogeosciences Program, National Center For Atmospheric Reserch; Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as member of IPCC)

Robert Horvitz
David H. Koch Professor of Biology, MIT; Nobel Prize in Physiology, 2002

Wolfgang Ketterle
John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics; Director, MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2001

Leon Lederman
Pritzker Professor of Science, Illinois Institute of Technology; Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988

Michael Oppenheimer
Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University; Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as member of IPCC)

David Politzer
The Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics, CalTech, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004

Alan Robock
Meteorology Professor, Rutgers University; Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as member of IPCC)

Edwin Salpeter
Professor Emeritus, Cornell University; Crafoord Prize in Astronomy, 1997

Allan Sandage
Astrophysicist, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Crafoord Prize in Astronomy, 1991

Richard Schrock
Frederick G. Keyes Professor Of Chemistry, M.I.T.; Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2005

Harold Varmus
President, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; past director of the National Institutes of Health; Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1989

James Watson
Former President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Discoverer of the DNA Molecule; National Medal of Science, 1997; Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1962

Frank Wilczek
Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, M.I.T.; Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004

Government Leaders

Brian Baird
Congressman, D, 3rd District, Washington, Chairman, Research and Science Education Subcommittee, Science and Technology Committee

Rita Colwell
Former Director, National Science Foundation 1998-2004; Distinguished Professor, University Of Maryland/Johns Hopkins University School Of Public Health; National Medal of Science, 2006

George Cowan
White House Science Council member under President Reagan; Recipient, Enrico Fermi Award; founding member, Santa Fe Institute; conducted nuclear research with the Manhattan Project

Vern Ehlers
Congressman, R, 3rd District, Michigan, Ranking Republican, House Subcommittee on Research & Science Education

Vernon Ellingstad
Director, Office of Research and Engineering, National Transportation Safety Board

Sam Farr
Congressman, D, 17th District, California

Richard Garwin
Member President's Science Advisory Committee, 1962-65, 1969-72, (Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon), Defense Science Board 1966-69; Council Member, National Academy of Sciences; Former Director IBM Watson Lab; IBM Research Center Fellow Emeritus

John Gibbons
Former Science Adviser to President Clinton

Wayne Gilchrest
Congressman, R, 1st District, Maryland

Martin Goldhaber
Senior Scientist & Chair, Strategic Science Team, U.S. Geological Survey

Bart Gordon
Congressman, D, 6th District, Tennessee; Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology

Rush Holt
Congressman, D, 12th District, New Jersey

Jay Inslee
Congressman, D, 1st District, Washington

William Jeffrey
Director, Science and Technology Division, Studies and Analyses Center, Institute for Defense Analyses; Former Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Former Senior Director of Homeland and National Security in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

Mauri Katz
Former Director, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Defense Program Laboratories

Alexander King
Director, Ames Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Nancy Kopp
State Treasurer, State of Maryland

Madeleine Kunin
Former Governor, State of Vermont; Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education; Former Ambassador to Switzerland

Michael Lach
Head of High School Teaching and Learning, Chicago Public Schools

Neal Lane
Former Science Adviser to President Clinton

Jim Leach
Former Congressman, R, 2nd District, Iowa; Director, Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; former Chair, Banking and Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Jack Markell
State Treasurer, State of Delaware

Thomas Mason
Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Betty McCollum
Congresswoman, D, 4th District, Minnesota

David Michaels
Former Asst. Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Energy; Director, The Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy and Acting Chairman, Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services

Brad Miller
Congressman, D, 13th District, North Carolina; Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, Investigations and Oversight

Rebecca Otto
State Auditor, State of Minnesota

Malcolm Peterson
NASA Comptroller, 1993-2002; SES Presidential Rank Award

John Porter
Chair, PBS; Chair, Research!America; Former Congressman (R-Ill.); former chair, House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee

Jim Ramstad
Congressman, R, 3rd District, Minnesota

Andrew Reynolds
Deputy Science & Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State

R.T. Rybak
Mayor, City of Minneapolis

Walter Slocombe
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 1994-2001; Senior Advisor for National Security and Defense, Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq, 2003

James Tate, Jr.
Former Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior

Tim Walz
Congressman, D, 1st District, Minnesota

Susan Wood
Former Asst. Commissioner for Womens Health for FDA; Research Professor, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services

Organization Leaders

Richard Anthes
President, American Meteorological Society; President, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Eugene Arthurs
CEO, Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)

Roger Beachy
President & Director, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Frederick Bernthal
President, Universities Research Association, Inc.

Roger Bingham
Director, The Science Network

David Bressoud
President-elect, Mathematical Association Of America

William Brown
President & CEO, Academy of Natural Sciences

Robert Bryant
Director, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

Ralph Cicerone
President, National Academy of Sciences

Brian Conrey
Executive Director, American Institute of Mathematics

Calvin DeWitt
President, Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists; Chair, Advisory Council, Evangelical Campaign to Combat Global Warming and Climate Change; Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison

Brian Engler
Executive Vice President, Military Operations Research Society

Joseph Falke
President, Biophysical Society; Director, Molecular Biophysics Program, University of Colorado

Henry Ferguson
Science Division Head, Space Telescope Science Institute

Harvey Fineberg
President, Institute of Medicine

Katherine Forrest
President, Commonweal Institute

Martin Frank
Executive Director, American Physiological Society

Joseph Gallian
President, Mathematical Association of America

James Glim
President, American Mathematical Society; National Medal of Science, 2003

Kurt Gottfried
Chair & cofounder, Union of Concerned Scientists; Professor Emeritus of Physics, Cornell University

John Holdren
Chair, American Association for the Advancement of Science; President and Director, Woods Hole Research Center

Leaetta Hough
President, Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences; Past President, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Betsy Houston
Executive Director, Federation Of Materials Societies

Marilyn Hoyt
President & CEO, New York Hall Of Science

Alan Hurd
President Emeritus, Materials Research Society

Walter Isaacson
President & CEO, Aspen Institute; Author of Einstein: His Life and Universe

Evelyn Jabri
CEO, the RNA Society

Jeffrey Kargel
Leader of Global Land Ice Measurements from Space, a 29-nation glacier remote sensing consortium

Henry Kelly
President, Federation of American Scientists

Kevin Knobloch
President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Alan Kraut
Executive Director, Association For Psychological Science

Paul Kurtz
Chairman, Center for Inquiry; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo

Phoebe Leboy
President, Association For Women In Science

Russell Lefevre
President, IEEE-USA, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Alan Leshner
CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Executive Publisher, Science

Jane Lubchenko
Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Distinguished Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University

Eve Marder
President, Society For Neuroscience

Michael McCally
Executive Director, Physicians For Social Responsibility; Co-Director of the Center for Childrens Health and the Environment, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

James McCarthy
President-elect, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

James McClelland
President-elect, Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, & Cognitive Sciences; Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

Marcia McNutt
President & CEO, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Richard Meserve
President, The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Former Chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Monica Metzler
President, Illinois Science Council

Ioannis Miaoulis
President and Director, Museum Of Science

Katherine McCarter
Executive Director, Ecological Society Of America

Cleve Moler
President, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Jan Morrison
Executive Director, Ties Teaching Institute For Excellence In STEM

Thomas Murray
President & CEO, The Hastings Center

Richard Norgaard
Co-founder & President Emeritus, International Society for Ecological Economics; Professor Of Energy And Resources, University of California, Berkeley

Bill Nye
Bill Nye The Science Guy; Vice President, The Planetary Society; Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor, Cornell University; Union of Concerned Scientists National Advisory Board

Timothy O'Donnell
Chair, The National Debate Tournament

Richard O'Grady
Executive Director, American Institute Of Biological Sciences

Beth Parke
Executive Director, Society Of Environmental Journalists

John Parrish
Executive Director, Center For Integration Of Medicine And Innovative Technology

Thomas Pierson
CEO, SETI Institute

James Porter
President, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Pablo Rodriguez
Board Chair, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)

Philip Rubin
CEO, Haskins Laboratories

Eugenie Scott
Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

John Seager
President & CEO, Population Connection

Michael Seiden
President & CEO, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Wayne Shields
President & CEO, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)

Maxine Singer
President Emerita, Carnegie Institution of Washington; National Medal of Science, 1992; Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, 2007

Jack Solomon
Chairman, Chemical Industry Vision2020 Technology Partnership, an industry-led collaborative process to accelerate innovation and technology development in the chemical industry

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director, American Humanist Association

Will Steger
President, Will Steger Foundation; Polar Explorer and developer of the Global Warming 101 Initiative

Bruce Stillman
President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Lesley Stone
Executive Director, Scientists and Engineers for America

Tina Straley
Executive Director, Mathematical Association Of America

Mark Sykes
Director, Planetary Science Institute

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Vice President, The National Center For Manfuacturing Sciences

Scott Tinker
President, American Association of Petroleum Geologists; Director and State Geologist, Bureau Of Economic Geology, Univeristy Of Texas; Past President, Association of American State Geologists

J. Craig Venter
President, J. Craig Venter Institute; Chair and founder, The Institute for Genomic Research; Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people of 2007; mapper of the human genome

Charles Vest
President, National Academy of Engineering

Cynthia Volkert
President, Materials Research Society

Thomas Wallsten
President Emeritus, Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, & Cognitive Sciences; Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology, University of Maryland

Barbara Wanchisen
Executive Director, Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, & Cognitive Sciences

Kevin Ward
Executive Director, Aspen Science Center

Ronald Wasserstein
Executive Director, American Statistical Association

Geoffrey West
President, Santa Fe Institute, Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people of 2006

Deborah Wince-Smith
President, Council on Competitiveness

Dennis Wint
President & CEO, The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Mary Ann Wolf
Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association

Lorelle Young
President, U.S. Metric Association

Robert Yu
President, American Society Of Neurochemistry; Professor And Director, Medical College Of Georgia

Sam Zamrik
President, American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

College and University Presidents

Warren Baker
President, California Polytechnic State University

Jill Beck
President, Lawrence University

Richard Berman
President, Manhattanville College

Robert Birgeneau
Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

Lee Bollinger
President, Columbia University

Richard Brodhead
President, Duke University

Robert Bruininks
President, University of Minnesota; Chair, National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges

Nancy Cantor
Chancellor and President, Syracuse University

Wayne Clough
President, Georgia Institute of Technology

Jean-Lou Chameau
President, California Institute of Technology

Jared Cohon
President, Carnegie Mellon University

Susan Cole
President, Montclair State University

Michael Crow
President, Arizona State University

Mark Emmert
President, University Of Washington

Gregory Geoffroy
President, Iowa State University

Drew Gilpin Faust
President, Harvard University

Amy Gutmann
President, University Of Pennsylvania

Dianne Harrison
President, California State University, Monterey Bay

John Hennessy
President, Stanford University

Richard Herman
Chancellor, University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Freeman Hrabowski
President, University Of Maryland, Baltimore County

Shirley Ann Jackson
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; former Chair, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995-1999)

Rev. John Jenkins
President, University of Notre Dame

Albert Karni
President, California State University, San Bernardino

Don Kassing
President, San Jose State University

Maria Klawe
President, Harvey Mudd College

Stan Liberty
President, Kettering University

Mary Meehan
President, Alverno College

C.D. Mote, Jr.
President, University Of Maryland

Glenn Mroz
President, Michigan Technological University

Elisabeth Muhlenfeld
President, Sweet Briar College

Robert Myers
President, Daniel Webster College

James Oblinger
Chancellor, North Carolina State University

Robert Oden
President, Carleton College

David Oxtoby
President, Pomona College

Larry Penley
Chancellor & President, Colorado State University System

Rollin Richmond
President, Humboldt State University

Brian Rosenberg
President, Macalester College

John Sexton
President, New York University; Chair, New York Academy of Sciences

Donna Shalala
President, University of Miami; former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Robert Shelton
President, The University Of Arizona

John Simpson
President, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

David Skorton
President, Cornell University

Barbara Snyder
President, Case Western Reserve University

Charles Steger
President, Virginia Tech

Shirley Tilghman
President, Princeton University

Stephen Weber
President, San Diego State University

Daniel Weiss
President, Lafayette College

John Welty
President, California State University, Fresno

John White
Chancellor, University of Arkansas

Arthur Hansen
President Emeritus, Purdue University, Georgia Tech, and Texas A & M University

Harold Shapiro
President Emeritus, Princeton University; economist and bioethicist

Academic Leaders and Leading Scientists

Frances Arnold
Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, CalTech

Jonathan Arons
Professor Of Astronomy and of Physics, University of California, Berkeley

Richard Bergenstal
Executive Director, International Diabetes Center; Vice President, American Diabetes Association

James Buizer
Science Policy Advisor To The President, Arizona State University; Former Director, Climate and Society Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

John Cambier
Chair and Ida and Cecil Green Professor of Immunology, University of Colorado; Chair of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center

Arthur Caplan
Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania and Chair, Department of Medical Ethics, U-Penn School of Medicine

Sean Carroll
Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Peter Cavanagh
Chair, Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic

William Chameides
Dean, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University

David Cheney
Director, Science And Technology Policy Program, SRI International

Father George Coyne
Director Emeritus, Vatican Observatory

George Crabtree
Director, Materials Science & Senior Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory

Joel Cracraft
Lamont Curator and Curator-in-Charge, Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History

Judith Curry
Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

Keith Devlin
Executive Director, Center for the Study of Language and Information, and Consulting Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University; commentator "The Math Guy" on NPR; author of 25 books; Chair-elect of the Mathematics Section of the AAAS

Niles Eldredge
Curator, Division of Paleontology, The American Museum of Natural History

John Fitzpatrick
Executive Director, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Brewster Award

Elsa Garmire
Sydney E. Junkins Professor Of Engineering Science & Former Dean, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College

Irwin Goldstein
Senior Vice Chancellor For Academic Affairs, University System Of Maryland

William Greenough
Swanlund Chair and Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Robert Griffin
Director, Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory; Professor of Chemistry, MIT

John Hildebrand
Regents Professor of Neurobiology, University of Arizona

Kip Hodges
Director and Foundation Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University

Gerald Holton
Research Professor of Physics and History of Science, Harvard University

John Horgan
Director, Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology

Jack Horner
Regents Professor and Curator of Paleontology, Montana State University; MacArthur Fellow

Jennie Hunter-Cevera
President, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute

Jeremy Jackson
William E. and Mary B. Ritter Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Steve Kelley
Director, Center for Science, Technology and Policy, University of Minnesota

Daniel Kevles
Stanley Woodward Professor Of History, Yale University

Lawrence Krauss
Director, Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics and Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Case Western Reserve University

Eric Lander
Director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; first author of the Human Genome Project; one of TIME's 100 most influential people of our time (2004)

Anthony Leiserowitz
Director, Yale Project on Climate Change

Simon Levin
Director, Center for BioComplexity and Moffett Professor of Biology, Princeton University

Eugene Levy
Provost and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University; former NASA Advisory Council; NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal recipient

Richard Lifton
Director, Yale Center for Human Genetics and Genomics; Chair, Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine

Jere Lipps
Curator of Paleontology and Professor of Geology, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley

Arthur Lupia
Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

Michael Mann
Director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State University

Kenneth Miller
Professor of Biology, Brown University; co-author of Biology

David Ozonoff
Professor and Chair Emeritus, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

Kevin Padian
Professor and Curator Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology University of California, Berkeley

Bob Park
Professor of physics and former chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland; author Voodoo Science

Thomas Park
Vice President for Research and Chair, Neurobiology & Anatomy, University of Utah; Executive Director, Brain Institute

Raymond Pierrehumbert
Lead author IPCC Third Assessment Report; Author NRC study on abrupt climate change; Louis Block Professor, University Of Chicago

Stuart Pimm
Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University

Steven Pinker
Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University; author How The Mind Works

Philip Pizzo
Dean, Stanford University School Of Medicine

Jim Plummer
Dean, Stanford University School Of Engineering

Timothy Profeta
Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

Louis Ptacek
Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Francisco; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Ronald Raines
Henry Lardy Professor of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Vera Rubin
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington; National Medal of Science, 1993

Alan Saltiel
Director, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan

John Schwarz
Professor Of Theoretical Physics, CalTech; Originator of Superstring Theory

Larry Shapiro
Executive Vice Chancellor For Medical Affairs, Washington University School Of Medicine

Robert Smith
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Arkansas

James Gustave Speth
Dean, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University

Jill Tarter
Director, Center for SETI Research

James Thomson
John D. MacArthur Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and a faculty member of the Genome Center of Wisconsin; stem cell pioneer

Kip Thorne
The Feynman Professor Of Theoretical Physics, CalTech

Maury Tigner
Laboratory Director, Cornell University

Meg Urry
Director, Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics; Chair, Yale Physics Department

Robert Wells
Director, Center for Genome Research, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas Medical Center in Houston

Tim White
Director, Human Evolution Research Center; Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator of Biological Anthropology, P.A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

Bernard Widrow
Professor Of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

Walter Willett
Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard University

Keith Yamamoto
Executive Vice Dean, School of Medicine, University Of California, San Francisco

Business Leaders

Jonathan Adler
President, Mediflex Surgical Products

Irving Alne
Former President, Lockheed Aircraft International

Norm Augustine
Former CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.; former Undersecretary of the Army and chairman of NASA Space Systems and Technical Advisory Board; Member, President George W. Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Craig Barrett
Chairman, Intel

Arne Carlson
Former Republican Governor of Minnesota; former Chairman, American Express Funds' Board of Directors

Sanford Cohen
President, S. Cohen & Associates

Charles de Seve
President, American Economics Group

Eric Hedman
CTO, Logic Design Corporation

John Hidley
Co-founder, Behavioral Science Technology

James Hollenhorst
Senior Director, Intellectual Property Strategy, Agilent Technologies

Jake Janovetz
President, Opal Kelly

Thomas Kelly
CEO, Imago Scientific Instruments Corporation

Stephen Kent
President & CEO, New Track Media publishers

Elizabeth Kerr
Director of Marketing, Science & Technology, Apple Computer

Alan Kriegstein
President, ALA Scientific Instruments

Karen Lackey
Vice President, Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKline

Paul Laikind
CEO, Metabasis Therapeutics

Martin Manley
Chairman and CEO, Alibris, Inc; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor

Richard Meyers
President and CEO, GlobalTrak

Richard Mohring
CTO, Millennium Cell

Peter Norvig
Director of Research, Google Inc; Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence; Former head of Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center; Awarded NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001

William Pelton
President, Phoenix Geoexploration

Frank Peters
Chairman, Board Of Governors, Tech Coast Angels

Nicholas Pritzker
Chairman and CEO, Hyatt Development Corporation

Lois Quam
Managing Director, Alternative Investments, Piper Jaffray; Former CEO, Ovations, UnitedHealth Group; one of Fortune Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business 2006

Martin Rose
Vice President, Medical Affairs, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical

James Rutt
Former CEO of Network Solutions; former CTO of The Thomson Corporation; business strategist

George Scalise
President, Semiconductor Industry Association; Member, President George W. Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology; Former Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Administrative Officer at Apple Computer; Former Chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Ben Schwegler
Vice President & Chief Scientist, Walt Disney Imagineering R&D

Shuvayu Sen
Director, Global Outcomes Research And HTA, Merck & Co.

Ian Smith
President, Freeverse

Kurt Stammberger
Vice President, Proofspace

Rajiv Tandon
CEO, Adayana

Mark Thompson
President, Forefront Economics

Beverly Benz Treuille
President, Huber Investment Company; Chairman of the Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters International

Sibley Verbeck
CEO, The Electric Sheep Company, one of MIT Technology Review's top 100 technology innovators worldwide under the age of 35

Mark Weber
President, Fermalogic

Editors, Writers & Other Thought Leaders

Rudy Baum
Editor-in-Chief, Chemical & Engineering News

Adam Bly
CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Seed Media Group

Deborah Byrd
Editor-in-Chief and founder, Earth & Sky international science radio series & website

Phillip Campbell
Editor-in-Chief, Nature

Dwight Corrin
Moderator of the Synod of Mid America of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Ann Druyan
CEO, Cosmos Studios; cowriter, Cosmos TV series (with Carl Sagan and others); producer, Contact

Harold Evans
Author They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Hundred Years of Innovators and of The American Century; BBC Columnist, editor at large, The Week Magazine

Rick Feinberg
Editor-in-Chief, Sky & Telescope

Ira Flatow
Executive Producer and Host, NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday

Kevin Finneran
Editor-in-Chief, Issues in Science and Technology

Kendrick Frazier
Editor-in-Chief, Skeptical Inquirer

Richard Gallagher
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The Scientist

Wolfgang Goede
Science News Editor, P.M. Magazine (Germany); co-founder, World Federation of Science Journalists

Samuel Gubins
Editor-in-Chief and President, Annual Reviews

Evan Hansen

Stephen Harvey
Co-Lead Attorney for the Plaintiff, Pepper Hamilton LLP, in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

John Haught
Senior Fellow, Science & Religion, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University

Mark Jannot
Editor-In-Chief, Popular Science and Science Illustrated

Leon Jaroff
Former Science Editor, Time Magazine

Donald Kennedy
Editor-in-Chief, Science

Laura Kiessling
Editor-in-Chief, ACS Chemical Biology; Hilldale Professor Of Chemistry, University Of Wisconsin-Madison; MacArthur Foundation Fellow

Michael Lemonick
Freelance Writer and Lecturer, Princeton University

Elizabeth Marincola
President & Publisher, Science News; President, Society for Science & the Public

Linda Miller
U.S. Executive Editor, Nature and Nature Journals

Randy Olson
Marine Ecologist, Filmmaker, Flock of Dodos

John Allen Paulos
Professor of Mathematics, Temple University; author Innumeracy

Robert Pennock
Professor of Philosophy of Science, Michigan State University; AAAS Committee on the Public Understanding of Science and Technology

Martin Peretz
Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic

John Rennie
Editor-in-Chief, Scientific American

Eric Rothschild
Co-Lead Attorney for the Plaintiff, Pepper Hamilton LLP, in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

Mark Schleifstein
Pulitzer prize-winning Environmental Reporter, New Orleans Times-Picayune

David Schoonmaker
Editor (acting), American Scientist

Bobby Shriver
Producer and President of RSS, Inc.

Robert Stern
CEO & Publisher, MedPage Today

Tum Studt
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher, R&D Magazine

Diane Sullenberger
Executive Editor, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Ethan Vishniac
Editor-in-Chief, Astrophysical Journal

Timothy Wheeler
President, Society Of Environmental Journalists

Jamie Wilson
Editor, Nature Immunology


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Barack Obama answers 14 top

Barack Obama answers 14 top science questions
Answers show plans to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing America

Washington (August 30, 2008) – Barack Obama today answered the 14 top science questions facing America, according to, the group leading the effort to make key science issues a larger part of the election.

“Most of America’s major unsolved challenges revolve around these 14 questions. To move America forward, the next president needs a substantive plan for tackling them going in, and voters deserve to know what that plan is,” said Shawn Otto, CEO of the initiative. “We’re pleased that Senator Obama has provided voters with that substantive plan, and we’re hoping for similarly thoughtful responses from Senator McCain.”

The top 14 questions address energy policy, national security, economics in a science-driven global economy, climate change, education, health care, ocean health, biosecurity, clean water, space, stem cells, scientific integrity, genetics, and research.

The 14 questions were developed from over 3,400 questions submitted by more than 38,000 signers of the ScienceDebate2008 initiative. The questionnaire is a joint effort led by ScienceDebate2008, with Scientists and Engineers for America, AAAS, the National Academies, the Council on Competitiveness, and several other organizations, together representing over 125 million voters.

“Ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology will be a central priority for my administration,” said Senator Obama. “Our talent for innovation is still the envy of the world, but we face unprecedented challenges that demand new approaches.”

Recent national polls have shown that 85% of voters would like the see the candidates debate these challenges, and the majority of voters are much more likely to vote for a candidate that has a plan for tackling these issues.

“We are grateful for Senator Obama's detailed responses and look forward to receiving the same from Senator McCain,” said Matthew Chapman, president of the initiative. “After that we hope the candidates will want to discuss their differences. Science Debate 2008 and its partners once again extend an invitation to both candidates to attend a televised debate or forum where these vital issues can be discussed in front of a broader audience.” is a citizens initiative started by six individuals whose signers now include nearly every major American science organization, the presidents of nearly every major American university, and dozens of Nobel laureates and top American CEOs. For more information, to see a list of the signers, or to see the results of the national polls, please visit

The full answers to the questions:

1. Innovation. Science and technology have been responsible for half of the growth of the American economy since WWII. But several recent reports question America’s continued leadership in these vital areas. What policies will you support to ensure that America remains the world leader in innovation?

Ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology will be a central priority for my administration. Our talent for innovation is still the envy of the world, but we face unprecedented challenges that demand new approaches. For example, the U.S. annually imports $53 billion more in advanced technology products than we export. China is now the world’s number one high technology exporter. This competitive situation may only worsen over time because the number of U.S. students pursuing technical careers is declining. The U.S. ranks 17th among developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving degrees in science or engineering; we were in third place thirty years ago.

My administration will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade. We will increase research grants for early-career researchers to keep young scientists entering these fields. We will increase support for high-risk, high-payoff research portfolios at our science agencies. And we will invest in the breakthrough research we need to meet our energy challenges and to transform our defense programs.

A vigorous research and development program depends on encouraging talented people to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and giving them the support they need to reach their potential. My administration will work to guarantee to students access to strong science curriculum at all grade levels so they graduate knowing how science works – using hands-on, IT-enhanced education. As president, I will launch a Service Scholarship program that pays undergraduate or graduate teaching education costs for those who commit to teaching in a high-need school, and I will prioritize math and science teachers. Additionally, my proposal to create Teacher Residency Academies will also add 30,000 new teachers to high-need schools – training thousands of science and math teachers. I will also expand access to higher education, work to draw more of these students into science and engineering, and increase National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellowships. My proposals for providing broadband Internet connections for all Americans across the country will help ensure that more students are able to
bolster their STEM achievement.

Progress in science and technology must be backed with programs ensuring that U.S. businesses have strong incentives to convert advances quickly into new business opportunities and jobs. To do this, my administration will make the R&D tax credit permanent.

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change—a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research? Are there other policies you would support?

There can no longer be any doubt that human activities are influencing the global climate and we must react quickly and effectively. First, the U.S. must get off the sidelines and take long-overdue action here at home to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. We must also take a leadership role in designing technologies that allow us to enjoy a growing, prosperous economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. With the right incentives, I'm convinced that American ingenuity can do this, and in the process make American businesses more productive, create jobs, and make America’s buildings and vehicles safer and more attractive. This is a global problem. U.S. leadership is essential but solutions will require contributions from all parts of the world—particularly the rest of the world’s major emitters: China, Europe, and India.

Specifically, I will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. I will start reducing emissions immediately by establishing strong annual reduction targets with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A cap- and-trade program draws on the power of the marketplace to reduce emissions in a cost- effective and flexible way. I will require all pollution credits to be auctioned.

I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8+5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

3. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

America's challenges in providing secure, affordable energy while addressing climate change mean that we must make much more efficient use of energy and begin to rely on new energy sources that eliminate or greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My programs focus both on a greatly expanded program of federally funded energy research and development and on policies designed to speed the adoption of innovative energy technologies and stimulate private innovation.

First, I have proposed programs that, taken together, will increase federal investment in the clean energy research, development, and deployment to $150 billion over ten years. This research will cover:

• Basic research to develop alternative fuels and chemicals;

• Equipment and designs that can greatly reduce energy use in residential and commercial buildings – both new and existing;

• New vehicle technologies capable of significantly reducing our oil consumption;

• Advanced energy storage and transmission that would greatly help the economics of new electric-generating technologies and plug-in hybrids;

• Technologies for capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases produced by coal plants; and

• A new generation of nuclear electric technologies that address cost, safety, waste disposal, and proliferation risks.

I will also work closely with utilities to introduce a digital smart grid that can optimize the overall efficiency of the nation's electric utility system, by managing demand and making effective use of renewable energy and energy storage.

Second, it is essential that we create a strong, predictable market for energy innovations with concrete goals that speed introduction of innovative products and provide a strong incentive for private R&D investment in energy technologies. These concrete goals include:

• Increasing new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade, and taking other steps that will reduce the energy intensity of our economy 50 percent by 2030;

• Increasing fuel economy standards 4 percent per year and providing loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to build new fuel- efficient cars domestically;

• Extending the Production Tax Credit for five years and creating a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard that will require that 10 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025; and

• Ensuring that regulations and incentives in all federal agencies support the national energy and environmental goals in ways that encourage innovation and ingenuity.

I will also encourage communities around the nation to design and build sustainable communities that cut energy use with walkable community designs and expanded investment in mass transit.

4. Education. A comparison of 15-year-olds in 30 wealthy nations found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 17th, while average U.S. math scores ranked 24th. What role do you think the federal government should play in preparing K-12 students for the science and technology driven 21st Century?

All American citizens need high quality STEM education that inspires them to know more about the world around them, engages them in exploring challenging questions, and involves them in high quality intellectual work. STEM education is no longer only for those pursuing STEM careers; it should enable all citizens to solve problems, collaborate, weigh evidence, and communicate ideas. I will work to ensure that all Americans, including those in traditionally underrepresented groups, have the knowledge and skills they need to engage in society, innovate in our world, and compete in the global economy.

I will support research to understand the strategies and mechanisms that bring lasting improvements to STEM education and ensure that promising practices are widely shared. This includes encouraging the development of cutting edge STEM instructional materials and technologies, and working with educators to ensure that assessments measure the range of knowledge and skills needed for the 21st Century. I will bring coherency to STEM education by increasing coordination of federal STEM education programs and facilitating cooperation among state efforts. I recently introduced the "Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Act of 2008" that would establish a STEM Education Committee within the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies engaged in STEM education, consolidate the STEM education initiatives that exist within the Department of Education under the direction of an Office of STEM Education, and create a State Consortium for STEM Education. These reforms will strengthen interagency coordination at the federal level, encourage collaboration on common content standards and assessments for STEM education at the state and local levels, and provide a mechanism for sharing the latest innovations and practices in STEM education with educators. I also recently sponsored an amendment, which became law, to the America Competes Act that established a competitive state grant program to support summer learning opportunities with curricula that emphasize mathematics and problem solving.

My education plan is built on the recognition that teachers play a critical role in student learning and achievement. My administration will work closely with states and local communities to ensure that we recruit math and science graduates to the teaching profession. Through Teacher Service Scholarships, a Teacher Residency Program, and Career Ladders, I will transform the teaching profession from one that has too many underpaid and insufficiently qualified teachers to one that attracts the best STEM teaching talent for our schools.

We cannot strengthen STEM education without addressing the broader challenges of improving American education and other priority issues. In addition to a focus on high quality teachers, my comprehensive plan addresses the needs of our most at-risk children, focuses on strong school leaders, and enlists parent and community support. My proposals for a comprehensive “zero to five” program will ensure that children enter school ready to learn. And when they finish school, I will make sure that through the new $4,000 American Opportunity Tax Credit, they will have access to affordable higher education that will provide them with the science fluency they need to be leaders in STEM fields and across broad sectors of our society.

5. National Security. Science and technology are at the core of national security like never before. What is your view of how science and technology can best be used to ensure national security and where should we put our focus?

Technology leadership is key to our national security. It’s essential to create a coherent new defense technology strategy to meet the kinds of threats we may face—asymmetric conflicts, urban operations, peacekeeping missions, and cyber, bio, and proliferation threats, as well as new kinds of symmetric threats.

When Sputnik was launched in 1957, President Eisenhower used the event as a call to arms for Americans to help secure our country and to increase the number of students studying math and science via the National Defense Education Act. That educational base not only improved our national security and space programs but also led to our economic growth and innovation over the second half of the century. Our nation is again hearing a threatening “ping” in the distance, this time not from a single satellite in space but instead from threats that range from asymmetric conflicts to cyber attacks, biological terror and nuclear proliferation. I will lead the nation to be prepared to meet this 21st- century challenge by investing again in math and science education, which is vital to protecting our national security and our competitiveness.

As president I will also ensure that our defense, homeland security, and intelligence agencies have the strong research leadership needed to revitalize our defense research activities and achieve breakthrough science that can be quickly converted into new capabilities for our security.

This year, I was encouraged to see the Department of Defense (DoD) requested a sharp increase in the basic research budget for breakthrough technologies. More is needed. My administration will put basic defense research on a path to double and will assure strong funding for investments in DoD’s applied research programs. We will enhance the connections between defense researchers and their war-fighting counterparts. And, we will strengthen defense research management so that our most innovative minds are working on our most pressing defense problems. A strong research program can also lower procurement costs by reducing technical risks and increasing reliability and performance. Renewing DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) will be a key part of this strategy.

My administration will build a strong and more productive research program in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that will include critical work on cyber and bio security. Because existing programs have been plagued by management problems, we will bring a renewal of talent, organization, and focus, seeking support from our universities, companies, and labs. Another critical role for R&D in national security is energy. Our petroleum dependence continually threatens our security, and my proposals for accelerating new alternative energy technologies will be an important part of my national security R&D agenda.

Finally, we will act to reverse the erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base - which could jeopardize our technical superiority. We need to continue to develop the finest defense systems in the world. But, we are losing domestic production capability for critical defense components and systems. I will implement the recommendations of the Defense Science Board on defense manufacturing, strengthen efforts at DoD’s Manufacturing Technology program, and invest in innovative manufacturing sciences and processes to cut manufacturing costs and increase efficiency.

6. Pandemics and Biosecurity. Some estimates suggest that if H5N1 Avian Flu becomes a pandemic it could kill more than 300 million people. In an era of constant and rapid international travel, what steps should the United States take to protect our population from global pandemics or deliberate biological attacks?

It’s time for a comprehensive effort to tackle bio-terror. We know that the successful deployment of a biological weapon—whether it is sprayed into our cities or spread through our food supply—could kill tens of thousands of Americans and deal a crushing blow to our economy.

Overseas, I will launch a Shared Security Partnership that invests $5 billion over 3 years to forge an international intelligence and law enforcement infrastructure to take down terrorist networks. I will also strengthen U.S. intelligence collection overseas to identify and interdict would-be bioterrorists before they strike and expand the U.S. government’s bioforensics program for tracking the source of any biological weapon. I will work with the international community to make any use of disease as a weapon declared a crime against humanity.

And to ensure our country is prepared should such an event occur, we must provide our public health system across the country with the surge capacity to confront a crisis and improve our ability to cope with infectious diseases. I will invest in new vaccines and technology to detect attacks and to trace them to their origin, so that we can react in a timely fashion. I have pledged to invest $10 billion per year over the next 5 years in electronic health information systems to not only improve routine health care, but also ensure that these systems will give health officials the crucial information they need to deploy resources and save lives in an emergency. I will help hospitals form collaborative networks to deal with sudden surges in patients and will ensure that the U.S. has adequate supplies of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and can get these vital products into the hands of those who need them.

We also have to expand local and state programs to ensure that they have the resources to respond to these disasters. I will work to strengthen the federal government’s partnership with local and state governments on these issues by improving the mechanisms for clear communication, eliminating redundant programs, and building on the key strengths possessed by each level of government. I introduced legislation which would have provided funding for programs in order to enhance emergency care systems throughout the country.

I will build on America’s unparalleled talent and advantage in STEM fields and the powerful insights into biological systems that are emerging to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and to manufacture these vital products much more quickly and efficiently than is now possible. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has failed to take full advantage of the Bioshield initiative. Because of the unpredictability of the mode of biological attack, I will stress the need for broad-gauged vaccines and drugs and for more agile and responsive drug development and production systems. This effort will strengthen the U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical industry and create high-wage jobs.

7. Genetics research. The field of genetics has the potential to improve human health and nutrition, but many people are concerned about the effects of genetic modification both in humans and in agriculture. What is the right policy balance between the benefits of genetic advances and their potential risks?

The progress that has occurred in genetics over the past half century has been remarkable—from the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure in 1953 to the recent deciphering of all three billion letters of the human genome. New knowledge about genes is already transforming medicine and agriculture and has the potential to change other fields, including energy and environmental sciences and information technology.

I also recognize that the power of modern genetics has raised important ethical, legal, and social issues that require careful study. For example, new developments in human genetics allow individuals to be informed about their risks of various diseases; such information can be useful for diagnosing and treating disease, but it can also be misused by employers or insurers to discriminate. For this reason, I have been a long-time supporter of the recently passed Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act. In addition, concerned about the premature introduction of genetic testing into the public domain without appropriate oversight, I introduced the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007 aimed at ensuring the safety and accuracy of such testing.

Advances in the genetic engineering of plants have provided enormous benefits to American farmers. I believe that we can continue to modify plants safely with new genetic methods, abetted by stringent tests for environmental and health effects and by stronger regulatory oversight guided by the best available scientific advice.

Disease treatment and identification is likewise being transformed by modern genetics. Recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology has produced a number of products such as human growth hormone or insulin or other complicated proteins that are known to be involved in bone metabolism, immune response, and tissue repair. The promise of rDNA is its ability to sidestep potentially harmful intermediaries that could have a pathogenic effect. Some forms of gene therapy-replacing faulty genes with functional copies-in comparison have encountered safety issues that arise from how the functional gene is delivered. As a result, the NIH established the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, which now provides advice and guidance on human gene therapy as well as other ethical concerns or potential abuse of rDNA technology. Until we are equipped to ascertain the safety of such methods, I will continue to support the activities and recommendations of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.

8. Stem cells. Stem cell research advocates say it may successfully lead to treatments for many chronic diseases and injuries, saving lives, but opponents argue that using embryos as a source for stem cells destroys human life. What is your position on government regulation and funding of stem cell research?

Stem cell research holds the promise of improving our lives in at least three ways—by substituting normal cells for damaged cells to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart failure and other disorders; by providing scientists with safe and convenient models of disease for drug development; and by helping to understand fundamental aspects of normal development and cell dysfunction.

For these reasons, I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations. As president, I will lift the current administration’s ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001 through executive order, and I will ensure that all research on stem cells is conducted ethically and with rigorous oversight.

I recognize that some people object to government support of research that requires cells to be harvested from human embryos. However, hundreds of thousands of embryos stored in the U.S. in in-vitro fertilization clinics will not be used for reproductive purposes, and will eventually be destroyed. I believe that it is ethical to use these extra embryos for research that could save lives when they are freely donated for that express purpose.

I am also aware that there have been suggestions that human stem cells of various types, derived from sources other than embryos, make the use of embryonic stem cells unnecessary. I don’t agree. While adult stem cells, such as those harvested from blood or bone marrow, are already used for treatment of some diseases, they do not have the versatility of embryonic stem cells and cannot replace them. Recent discoveries indicate that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave like stem cells; these are exciting findings that might in the future lead to an alternate source of highly versatile stem cells. However, embryonic stem cells remain the “gold standard,” and studies of all types of stem cells should continue in parallel for the foreseeable future.

Rather than restrict the funding of such research, I favor responsible oversight of it, in accord with recent reports from the National Research Council. Recommendations from the NRC reports are already being followed by institutions that conduct human embryonic stem cell research with funds from a variety of sources. An expanded, federally-supported stem cell research program will encourage talented U.S. scientists to engage in this important new field, will allow more effective oversight, and will signal to other countries our commitment to compete in this exciting area of medical research.

9. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that some 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are in serious decline and habitats around the world like coral reefs are seriously threatened. What steps, if any, should the United States take during your presidency to protect ocean health?

Oceans are crucial to the earth's ecosystem and to all Americans because they drive global weather patterns, feed our people and are a major source of employment for fisheries and recreation. As president, I will commit my administration to develop the kind of strong, integrated, well-managed program of ocean stewardship that is essential to sustain a healthy marine environment.

Global climate change could have catastrophic effects on ocean ecologies. Protection of the oceans is one of the many reasons I have developed an ambitious plan to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases 80 percent below 1990 by 2050. We need to enhance our understanding of the effect of climate change on oceans and the effect of acidification on marine life through expanded research programs at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). I will propel the U.S. into a leadership position in marine stewardship and climate change research. Stronger collaboration across U.S. scientific agencies and internationally is needed in basic research and for designing mitigation strategies to reverse or offset the damage being done to oceans and coastal areas.

The oceans are a global resource and a global responsibility for which the U.S. can and should take a more active role. I will work actively to ensure that the U.S. ratifies the Law of the Sea Convention – an agreement supported by more than 150 countries that will protect our economic and security interests while providing an important international collaboration to protect the oceans and its resources. My administration will also strengthen regional and bilateral research and oceans preservation efforts with other Gulf Coast nations.

Our coastal areas and beaches are American treasures and are among our favorite places to live and visit. I will work to reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act in ways that strengthen the collaboration between federal agencies and state and local organizations. The National Marine Sanctuaries and the Oceans and Human Health Acts provide essential protection for ocean resources and support the research needed to implement a comprehensive ocean policy. These programs will be strengthened and reauthorized.

10. Water. Thirty-nine states expect some level of water shortage over the next decade, and scientific studies suggest that a majority of our water resources are at risk. What policies would you support to meet demand for water resources?

Solutions to this critical problem will require close collaboration between federal, state, and local governments and the people and businesses affected. First, prices and policies must be set in a ways that give everyone a clear incentive to use water efficiently and avoid waste. Regulations affecting water use in appliances and incentives to shift from irrigated lawns to "water smart" landscapes are examples. Second, information, training, and, in some cases, economic assistance should be provided to farms and businesses that will need to shift to more efficient water practices. Many communities are offering kits to help businesses and homeowners audit their water use and find ways to reduce use. These should be evaluated, with the most successful programs expanded to other states and regions. I will establish a national plan to help high-growth regions with the challenges of managing their water supplies.

In addition, it is also critical that we undertake a concerted program of research, development, and testing of new technologies that can reduce water use.

11. Space. The study of Earth from space can yield important information about climate change; focus on the cosmos can advance our understanding of the universe; and manned space travel can help us inspire new generations of youth to go into science. Can we afford all of them? How would you prioritize space in your administration?

As president, I will establish a robust and balanced civilian space program. Under my administration, NASA not only will inspire the world with both human and robotic space exploration, but also will again lead in confronting the challenges we face here on Earth, including global climate change, energy independence, and aeronautics research. In achieving this vision, I will reach out to include international partners and to engage the private sector to amplify NASA’s reach. I believe that a revitalized NASA can help America maintain its innovation edge and contribute to American economic growth.

There is currently no organizational authority in the federal government with a sufficiently broad mandate to oversee a comprehensive and integrated strategy and policy dealing with all aspects of the government’s space-related programs, including those being managed by NASA, the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation, and other federal agencies. This wasn’t always the case. Between 1958 and 1973, the National Aeronautics and Space Council oversaw the entire space arena for four presidents; the Council was briefly revived from 1989 to 1992. I will re-establish this Council reporting to the president. It will oversee and coordinate civilian, military, commercial, and national security space activities. It will solicit public participation, engage the international community, and work toward a 21st century vision of space that constantly pushes the envelope on new technologies as it pursues a balanced national portfolio that expands our reach into the heavens and improves life here on Earth.

12. Scientific Integrity. Many government scientists report political interference in their job. Is it acceptable for elected officials to hold back or alter scientific reports if they conflict with their own views, and how will you balance scientific information with politics and personal beliefs in your decision-making?

Scientific and technological information is of growing importance to a range of issues. I believe such information must be expert and uncolored by ideology.

I will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best- available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees. More broadly, I am committed to creating a transparent and connected democracy, using cutting-edge technologies to provide a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America’s citizens. Policies must be determined using a process that builds on the long tradition of open debate that has characterized progress in science, including review by individuals who might bring new information or contrasting views. I have already established an impressive team of science advisors, including several Nobel Laureates, who are helping me to shape a robust science agenda for my administration.

In addition I will:

• Appoint individuals with strong science and technology backgrounds and unquestioned reputations for integrity and objectivity to the growing number of senior management positions where decisions must incorporate science and technology advice. These positions will be filled promptly with ethical, highly qualified individuals on a non-partisan basis;

• Establish the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will lead an interagency effort on best-in-class technologies, sharing of best practices, and safeguarding of our networks;

• Strengthen the role of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) by appointing experts who are charged to provide independent advice on critical issues of science and technology. The PCAST will once again be advisory to the president; and

• Restore the science integrity of government and restore transparency of decision- making by issuing an Executive Order establishing clear guidelines for the review and release of government publications, guaranteeing that results are released in a timely manner and not distorted by the ideological biases of political appointees. I will strengthen protection for “whistle blowers” who report abuses of these processes.

13. Research. For many years, Congress has recognized the importance of science and engineering research to realizing our national goals. Given that the next Congress will likely face spending constraints, what priority would you give to investment in basic research in upcoming budgets?

Federally supported basic research, aimed at understanding many features of nature— from the size of the universe to subatomic particles, from the chemical reactions that support a living cell to interactions that sustain ecosystems—has been an essential feature of American life for over fifty years. While the outcomes of specific projects are never predictable, basic research has been a reliable source of new knowledge that has fueled important developments in fields ranging from telecommunications to medicine, yielding remarkable rates of economic return and ensuring American leadership in industry, military power, and higher education. I believe that continued investment in fundamental research is essential for ensuring healthier lives, better sources of energy, superior military capacity, and high-wage jobs for our nation’s future.

Yet, today, we are clearly under-investing in research across the spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines. Federal support for the physical sciences and engineering has been declining as a fraction of GDP for decades, and, after a period of growth of the life sciences, the NIH budget has been steadily losing buying power for the past six years. As a result, our science agencies are often able to support no more than one in ten proposals that they receive, arresting the careers of our young scientists and blocking our ability to pursue many remarkable recent advances. Furthermore, in this environment, scientists are less likely to pursue the risky research that may lead to the most important breakthroughs. Finally, we are reducing support for science at a time when many other nations are increasing it, a situation that already threatens our leadership in many critical areas of science.

This situation is unacceptable. As president, I will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade.

Sustained and predictable increases in research funding will allow the United States to accomplish a great deal. First, we can expand the frontiers of human knowledge. Second, we can provide greater support for high-risk, high-return research and for young scientists at the beginning of their careers. Third, we can harness science and technology to address the “grand challenges” of the 21st century: energy, health, food and water, national security, information technology, and manufacturing capacity.

14. Health. Americans are increasingly concerned with the cost, quality and availability of health care. How do you see science, research and technology contributing to improved health and quality of life?

Americans have good reasons to be proud of the extraordinary role that medical science has had in combating disease, here and throughout the world, over the past century. Work sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), other government agencies, and our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries has produced many vaccines, drugs, and hormones that have improved the quality of life, extended life expectancy, and reduced the dire consequences of many serious illnesses and disabilities. These advances include methods for preventing and treating coronary artery disease and stroke, which have reduced mortality rates by two-thirds; new drugs and antibodies that allow us to effectively treat certain cancers; anti-viral agents that allow most patients with AIDS to control their disease; drugs that often help make severe psychiatric illnesses manageable; and new vaccines that are reducing the incidence of virus-related cancers; and minimally invasive surgery techniques that reduce hospitalizations, complications, and costs. We can expect much more from the exciting biomedical research now underway. For example, we can foresee medical care that will allow physicians to tailor care to individual patients, matching therapies to those most likely to benefit.

However, today our citizens have understandable concerns about their ability to afford the care they need, especially when our underlying system of paying for health care is broken. We spend more on health care per capita than people of other countries, yet lower income groups continue to suffer significant disparities in both access to care and health outcomes. Without major changes, costs will continue to increase. Our population is aging, many cancers and chronic disorders remain difficult to treat, and there are continuing threats of new and re-emerging infectious diseases.

It's wrong that America's health care system works better for insurance and drug companies than it does for average Americans, who face skyrocketing health care costs. My plan makes health care more secure and affordable by strengthening employer-based coverage, protecting patients' ability to choose their own doctors, and saving families $2,500 dollars by requiring insurance companies to cover prevention and limiting excessive insurance company charges. My plan covers everybody by requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, providing tax credits to small businesses and working families, and covering all uninsured children.

These are difficult problems, and science and technology can solve only some of them. The effectiveness of medical care can be improved, and its costs can be reduced, by greater emphasis on best practices, electronic medical records, hospital safety, preventive strategies, and improved public health surveillance. The increased investments I support for medical research at the NIH may yield discoveries that reduce the cost of drug development, and we may produce new methods to prevent diseases that are costly to treat. But efforts to control costs also should make greater use of the tools for prevention and clinical management that already exist; enlist more effective participation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the NIH; and encourage investments in healthcare and health research by the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Overall, I am committed to three major tasks that will be necessary to confront widespread concerns about the nation’s health: provision of healthcare plans to all of our citizens; comprehensive efforts to make our health care system more cost-efficient; and continued biomedical research to understand diseases more thoroughly and find better ways to prevent and treat them.

Edib Korkut
Edib Korkut's picture
Sen Obama,

Sen Obama,
I very much appreciate your good plans for America and wish you well. However, for medical care you should discuss an alternative plan which might be better for insuring uninsured. looking forward to it. Best wishes again