[ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Helen.Sim at csiro.au Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Wed Feb 22 05:28:38 UTC 2012

In such a study, how could you control for all the other factors that influence a country's economic performance? 
Helen Sim
Media Liaison and Public Relations

CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility
Australian Astronomical Observatory

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From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Rob Morrison [rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au]
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 4:21 PM
To: Yuncken, Liz (CSIRO BD, Campbell); asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Cc: King, Peter (FM F/Ship, Campbell)
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

I suspect that the problem is subtly different. There are very few people with scientific training in politics, but heaps of lawyers and economists.

Both groups seem to believe that the world can be made to run on "man-made" rules -societal and economic - but it cannot.  Eventually, when the man-made rules come up against natural laws, the latter win every time.

A few more scientifically educated pollies might help the lawyers and economists understand some fundamental natural limitations to their plans; the foremost surely being that one cannot have unlimited growth (population and economic)  on a finite planet.

Dr Rob Morrison
rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Phone: (08) 8339 3790
Fax: (08)8339 6272

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au [Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 21 February 2012 10:59 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Cc: Peterg.King at csiro.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Hi Listers

A colleague has been wondering whether the scientific literacy levels of a country’s leaders (CEOs & politicians) is correlated to economic performance. Does anyone know of any research into the comparative scientific literacy levels of top leaders around the world?

My colleague put the question like this:

“It would be great to understand more fully the impact of scientific literacy to aspects of leadership and performance.

-          Eg. knowing scientific literacy of CEOs (of say the ASX 100 and comparable groups overseas) and tying this into the company's investment in R&D and overall performance

-          Eg. knowing the scientific literacy of our elected officials and comparisons to overseas parliaments.
“By literacy I mean having studied STEM subjects at university either as the major focus of the degree or as a component of the degree (maybe even with some differentiation between the two)”

What does the literature say (if anything)? Would make an interesting PhD topic!


Elizabeth Yuncken
Advisor, Europe & India | Global Engagement
Phone: +61 2 6276 6480 | Mobile: +61 467 777 817 | Fax: +61 2 6276 6308
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