Sunday I wrote about the need for government to embrace science once again for prudent policy, and for scientists and lay persons to stand up in science advocacy. In today's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, there is a special commentary from Dr. David P. Friedman, a professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University. He is last year's winner of the Society for Neuroscience's Science Educator Award, here offering a perspective on the importance of science education and outreach. Specifically, Friedman emphasizes the need for universities and other institutions to provide educational support to pre-college children, where anti-science groups often run smear campaigns unopposed. Also important is better science communication to the mainstream media and further utilization of the internet, through blogs, and other outlets.
This is what we need. Anti-intellectualism runs deep in this country. Nicholas Kristof, writing in Sunday's New York Times, discusses this idea further. Reinserting science into the public consciousness will not be done in one grand gesture, it will require a grassroots, bottom-up change.
The term civic scientist was coined by Neal Lane, former director of the National Science Foundation. I like it.