Ask a Scientist

Our monthly ‘Ask a Scientist’ column answers questions that come from UCS members and supporters.


People had to wait in long lines to vote early in Decatur, Georgia, on October 12, 2020. Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Ask a Scientist: Voter Suppression 101: An Introduction to a Stain on US Democracy

, senior writer

Heading into the election next month, it’s an opportune time to take a look at an issue that has been generating headlines over the past few months: voter suppression. Read more >

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Ask a Scientist: Nearly Everything You Want to Know about Climate Lawsuits

, senior writer

Given the growing number of climate lawsuits, I thought it would be helpful to ask L. Delta Merner, who runs our new Science Hub for Climate Litigation, to provide some details about the Science Hub, the different types of climate lawsuits, and how scientists determine which companies are responsible for climate damage. Read more >

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Satellite view of Gulf of Mexico

Ask an Expert: Reviving the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone

, senior writer

Speaking to UCS Food and Environment Program economist Rebecca Boehm, about Reviving the Dead Zone, a report released this summer that provides the first comprehensive assessment of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone’s economic impact, and warns the root problem—agricultural nutrient pollution—will likely worsen due to climate change. The dead zone causes as much as $2.4 billion in damage to fisheries and marine habitat every year, the report found, but there are proven ways to clean it up that would benefit farmers and the fishing industry alike. Read more >

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Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams/US Air Force

Ask an Expert: Congress Plans to Spend Billions on Dangerous, Unnecessary Nuclear Weapons

, senior writer

This week is the 75th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only time nuclear bombs have been used in a conflict—and one could only hope the last time. To commemorate the anniversary, I thought it would be appropriate to devote this column to taking a hard look at current US nuclear weapons policy, and to do that, I had a chat with our new Global Security Program Washington representative, Kevin Davis Read more >

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Photo by Nathan Waters
Photo by Nathan Waters

Ask a Scientist: What Should a Post-Pandemic Economy Look Like?

, senior writer

Predictions about when the economy will rebound, however, miss a bigger point. Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic—like all pandemics—will eventually come to an end, but what kind of an economy coming out of it would be best for the country? What lessons will we learn from the pandemic, if any? I spoke to one of UCS’ economists, Climate and Energy Program Policy Director Rachel Cleetus, who has been thinking about the kind of economy the United States should build going forward. Read more >

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