CHICAGO — If science education is to flourish and if science is to be better understood by the general public, then scientists need to think more locally, Michigan State University professor Jon Miller said.
Miller and several other academics spoke at a special symposium – "C2ST: The Nation's First Metropolitan Science Council" – today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
The Chicago Council for Science and Technology, or C2ST, was formed in 2006 by Miller who, at the time, was on the faculty of Northwestern University, and a host of other scientific dignitaries in the Chicago area.
Bringing together the area's science community, C2ST was modeled after the metropolitan councils on foreign policy, organizations that came into being after World War II which were designed to combat isolationism in the United States.
"C2ST was built on the successful model of these councils," said Miller, a Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies. "What we need to do now is structure similar models for the scientific community."
Miller said it's imperative that scientists keep the lines of communication open with other scientists, as well as educators, entrepreneurs and policymakers.
"If all of the scientific organizations are within the beltway," he said, "we're in trouble. Senators and representatives don't get elected from inside the beltway."
Miller, along with others, including Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, former Argonne National Laboratory Director Alan Schriesheim, and Illinois Institute of Technology President John Anderson, founded the C2ST and continue to serve on the organization's board.
Among its mission, said Miller, was "to create a dialogue within the scientific community about science policy, as well as communicate to the public what are the important public-policy issues involving science."
The organization also encourages and facilitates teacher education activities in the Chicago area.
Visit the Chicago Council for Science and Technology online at www.c2st.org.
-- by Tom Oswald
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