There are many challenges that the United States faces today. These range from climate change, energy independence, human genomics, nano-technology, to modified food crops. The question then becomes: How do we properly address these concerns? This course will start by examining the historical interaction between scientists, engineers, and public policy makers and how National public policy has affected various aspects of national concern. We will then examine the process by which public policy decisions are made in the Federal Government. We will also look at the proper role of advocacy groups, industry, researchers, national laboratories and individual citizens in setting public policy. We will also examine the role that political values have on the setting of the research agenda.
This course is intended for all majors and for all who are interested in the functioning of Government. This course can also qualify for graduate credit.
Classroom Time and Location
Class Time: Tuesday, Thursday 12:40 - 1:55
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Handler
Office: 504 Physics
Office Hours: TBA
- 2007 - "The Honest Broker - Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics," Roger A. Pielke, Jr.
Papers to be Read
- "Science and Technology Policymaking: A Primer" - Deborah D. Stine - May 2009
- Science and public policy: what's proof got to do with it? - Naomi Oreskes - 2004
- How science makes environmental controversies worse - Daniel Sarewitz - 2004
- When Scientists Politicize Science - Roger A. Pielke, Jr. - Spring 2006
- Climate Change Prediction: Erring on the side of least drama? - Keyny Brysse - Feb. 2013
- 1996 - "Frontiers of Illusion - Science, Technology, and the Poltics of Progress," Daniel Sarewtiz.
Suggested Reference Books
- 1967 - "The Politics of Pure Science," Daniel S. Greenberg.
- 1990 - "The Fifth Branch - Science Advisors as Policymakers," Sheila Jasanoff.
- 2001 - "Science, Money, and Politics - Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion," Daniel S. Greenberg.
- 2008 - "Beyond Sputnik - U.S. Science Policy in the 21st Century," Homer A. Neal, Tobin L. Smith, and Jennifer B. McCormick.
The semester grade will be determined from the following:
- Class Participation: 10%
- 2 Semester Papers: 30%
- Term Paper: 30%
- Class Presentation: 30%
All work submitted by a student is expected to represent their own work except in group projects wherein each student member of the group is expected to contribute equally. Students are expected to perform all work in conformance with the University policies regarding Academic Honesty.
Lecture Sequence and Readings
For the sequence of topics to be discussed please see Detailed.pdf
During the semester selections from the following material will be read and discussed:
- Science - The Endless Frontier by Vannevar Bush - 1945
- Conference on Science - The Endless Frontier held during 1994-1996
- Scientifically Illiterate vs. Politically Clueless - Gregory E. van der Vink - 1997
- The Future of U.S. Science Policy - Rep. Vernon Ehlers - 1998
- Unlocking Our Future: Toward A New National Science Policy - House Science Committee - 1998
- New Responsibilities in a New Era of Science Policy - Rep. Vernon Ehlers - 1998
- For U.S. Science Policy, It's Time for a Reality Check - Richard E. Sclove - 1999
- Trouble on "The Endless Frontier - Seth Shulman - 2002
- An Endless Frontier Postponed - Edward D. Lazowska and David A. Patterson - 2005
- Top 20 things scientists need to know about policy-making
- Top 20 things politicians need to know about science
- Science for Society - November 2000 Conference on Basic Research in the Service of Public Objectives
- Junk Science and Environmental Policy: Obscuring Public Debate with Misleading Discourse - Charles N. Herrick & Dale Jamieson - 2001
- The Law of Accelerating Returns - Ray Kurzweil - 2001
- The Rise of the Precautionary Principle: A Social Movement Gathers Strength - Nancy Myers - 2004
- The Gathering Storm - Executive Summary - 2006
- The neglected heart of science policy: reconciling supply of and demand for science - Daniel Sarewitz and Roger A. Pielke, Jr. - 2007
- Global Warming and the 'Settled Science' Baloney - Claude Sandroff - December 2009.
- What is this "settled science" of which you speak? - James Hrynyshyn - February 2010.
- "The Demon-Haunted World - Science As A Candle In The Dark," Carl Sagan - 1995
- "Politicizing Science - The Alchemy of Policymaking," Michael Gough, Editor - 2003
- "The Black Swan," Nassim Nicholas Taleb - 2007
- "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," Thomas Friedman - 2008
- "Unscientific America," Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum - 2009
- "The Science of Liberty," Timothy Ferris - 2010
- "Denialism," Michael Specter - 2010
Questions for Thought and Discussion
- What are the connections, either implicit or explicit, between The Declaration
of Independence, The Constitution, and "Science - The Endless Frontier?"
- Compare the workings of science with the workings of government. Do not dwell on the detailed workings but concentrate on the
- Have tax policies been beneficial and/or detrimental to the advancement of science and/or technology?
- Should decision/policy makers base their actions only on advice that is 100% certain?
- What should be the proper balance, if there is such a thing, between "pure" research and "applied" research?
- How and why do issues become controversial?
- Executive Branch - Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Executive Branch - Office of Management and Budget
- Congress - House - Committee on Science and Technology
- Congress - House - Committee on Homeland Security
- Congress - Senate - Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Congress - Senate - Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Office of Disability Services at 865-974-6087 in 2227 Dunford Hall to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.