Unscientific America

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

The vast majority of Americans do not see the ways in which science holds relevance in their lives, and too many scientists are unable to explain why our work matters. Meanwhile, partisan politics, a new media environment, and religious ideologies have magnified the growing rift between science and mainstream American culture. Science should be a value shared by all, but it will take far more than political will to bridge what C.P. Snow once described as a “vast gulf of mutual incomprehension” between scientists and everyone else. The scientific community must find new ways of reaching out or we will fail to influence the public, inform the decision-making process, and rise to meet the greatest challenges of the 21st century.

Sheril Kirshenbaum is Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin where she works to enhance public understanding of energy issues and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. She is the author of two books and her writing regularly appears in magazines, newspapers, and scientific publications. Previously, Sheril worked with the Webber Energy Group, Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and served as a Senate staffer on energy issues.