[ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Regan Forrest regan at reganforrest.com
Wed Feb 22 05:36:47 UTC 2012

In the context of scientifically-qualified politicians and business 
leaders, I think we (and by "we" I mean the broader scientific 
community) need to address how we view those who do not follow the 
career path of the lab.

I have always felt an implicit expectation that all science graduates 
will go on to become 'practicing' scientists, and that those who take 
other paths are somehow 'lost' to the profession. Graduates of history, 
economics, philosophy and so forth do not seem to be burdened by the 
same kind of expectations.

To me, this has two different but related consequences:
1) People who are business or politically minded do not see the study 
of STEM as a helpful route to that ambition
2) People with STEM qualifications may not feel they are sufficiently 
equipped to embark on political and business careers.

Do others think this is an issue or am I revealing my own hangups about 
having left the lab many many moons ago?


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