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UCS Science Network

About the author: Through our Science Network, UCS collaborates with nearly 20,000 scientists and technical experts across the country, including physicists, ecologists, engineers, public health professionals, economists, and energy analysts. Science Network Voices gives Equation readers access to the depth of expertise and broad perspective on current issues that our Science Network members bring to UCS. The views expressed in Science Network posts are those of the author alone.

Blurring the Lines: Integrating Science and Policy

Guest Bogger

Julian Reyes, IGERT NSPIRE Fellow
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University

Pullman, Washington

When I was eleven, I would diligently watch The Weather Channel’s “Tropical Update” and carefully track movements of tropical storms. This segment had a cult following—me. Visiting my relatives one summer, they found it odd that I preferred The Weather Channel over cartoons on a Saturday morning. Read More

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Best of Both Worlds: Preserving Agriculture on the Urban Fringe

Guest Bogger

Eric Christianson, MS Iowa State University
Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture and MCRP Community and Regional Planning

Ames, Iowa

Growing up the son of a corn and bean farmer in northern Illinois, I remember my parents talking jealously about a neighbor who received a generous offer from a developer for his farmland. It seemed a great fortune to me for farmers to be able to profit so handsomely from the expansion of cities. Read More

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How Sequestration Made Me a Citizen Scientist

Guest Bogger

Samuel Brinton, graduate student
Nuclear Engineering and the Technology and Policy Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

In the fall of 2011, I had just started my graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Technology and Policy Program. I undertook joint study in Nuclear Engineering and Technology Policy because as the son of a Three Mile Island community survivor, I understand that policy implications of misunderstood technologies can have drastic effects. Read More

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Corn Belt Farmers Respond to Climate Change

Guest Bogger

Gabrielle Roesch, PhD Student
Iowa State University, Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Sociology

Ames, Iowa

My family’s direct ties to the land ended generations ago, yet I have been drawn to agriculture, food production and the broader issues of natural resource management since I was a child. It likely started picking raspberries for my grandmother on Long Island, and was further fueled by a food security fellowship in Zambia and Ethiopia. Read More

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Part-Time Activism for the Busy Expert: A Molecular Biologist’s Tale

Guest Bogger

Christopher Boniface, Molecular Biologist
Department of Biomedical Engineering, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Portland, Oregon

I remember the first really large protest I ever attended. I was 21 and it was on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.  The atmosphere was electric—all over the U.S. and around the world, people were out in the streets in massive numbers telling their leaders, “No War!” The eventual invasion and occupation of Iraq was a wake-up call to me about the decision-making abilities of our leaders. It moved me to action on other issues that I care about—especially the environment.  Read More

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Misquoting Science in the Texas Textbook Battles

Guest Bogger

James A. Shapiro Professor of Bacterial Genetics and Microbiology , University of Chicago

December 4th brought a striking concurrence of events revealing how the opponents of science education operate.

I had just participated in a Union of Concerned Scientists webinar about “Getting Science Right in the Media: Rapid response to the good, the bad, and the provocative.” The point of the webinar was to provide information about how to combat misinformation about research. Read More

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How Rocket Science Can Benefit Transportation

Guest Bogger

Michael Wright, NASA engineer

Glen Rock, PA

As a NASA engineer and father of three, there are two things that I consider important: space exploration and climate change. Unfortunately, neither space nor climate change are receiving the attention they deserve from policy makers and the public. Fortunately, my 30-year career at NASA has given me the opportunity to become involved in both. Read More

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The Balancing Act: Public Engagement for the Academic Scholar

Guest Bogger

Andrew J. Hoffman, professor, University of Michigan
Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Each spring, my colleagues and I perform a common ritual; we fill out our annual activities reports to summarize our research, teaching, and service accomplishments for the year. As we fill them out, we are keenly aware that the primary metric is really research, and in particular, research published in top tier academic journals. Attempts at public or political engagement are overlooked or even discouraged as an “impractical” waste of time. Read More

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Human Nature and Creeping Environmental Threats

Guest Bogger

Kenny Broad, Professor, Marine Affairs and Policy
University of Miami

Miami, FL

To state the obvious, rare events don’t occur frequently. While this is good in the case of large-scale natural hazards, it may increase our vulnerability in the long run. But why do uncommon events increase our likelihood of taking unnecessary risks, and how do we overcome our own cognitive predispositions? Read More

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A Change We Didn’t See Coming: Hydraulic Fracturing and Sand Mining in Wisconsin

Guest Bogger

Marcia Bjornerud, professor of geology
Dept. of Geology, Lawrence University

Appleton, WI

If someone had told me 10 years ago that the rural landscape just west of my home in Appleton would be stripped down and shipped to states throughout the country, I never would have believed it. In fact, no one here in Wisconsin could have imagined that there would ever be much industrial demand for the honey-colored Cambrian sandstones that crop out in a wide swath across the middle of the state. There were a few quarries that supplied sand for foundry molds, but since foundries can reuse sand many times, these local operations had little effect on the landscape. Wisconsin’s sandstones had only two major ‘uses’: acting as groundwater aquifers and defining the shape of the distinctive chimney rocks and castellated mounds of the state’s scenic, never-glaciated Driftless Area. Read More

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