With voters going to the polls for the presidential primaries in all three local jurisdictions tomorrow, some citizens might be concerned that very little attention has been given to where the candidates stand on scientific issues. Physics Today, the magazine of the College Park-based American Institute of Physics, has been questioning presidential candidates since 1976 on their positions regarding science. This year, they have collected candidate stands on science education, teaching evolution, nuclear weapons, science investment, energy policy, and climate change from Democrats Clinton and Obama, as well as Republicans Huckabee, McCain, and Paul.
In order to get wider attention for scientific policy issues, a non-partisan organization called Science Debate 2008 is promoting the idea of a presidential debate focused on science and technology. The proposal has been endorsed by such organizations as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Individual supporters include Nobel laureates, business leaders, university presidents, and Congressional leaders.
The Science Debate campaign was featured last month on NPR's Science Friday program and discussed extensively on Andrew Revkin's Dot Earth blog last week. A Business Week Special Report last Friday, "Making Science a Presidential Priority," discussed the debate issue, and the Wired Magazine blog noted recently that the idea is gaining momentum.