[ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Rob Morrison rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Wed Feb 22 06:32:10 UTC 2012

Re point 2, I understand (but have no studies to back it) that the reason often given for the lack of scientists in parliament is that, while scientists have many of the skills needed for parliament (research, analysis etc), once you leave research for even a short while, it is hard to get yoiurself back in at the same level. This seems also to apply to women who take time out for child-rearing. The same does not apply to economists or lawyers, who happily leave parliament for plush jobs taking up law and commerce where they left off but at a more senior level, finding that their parliamentary years, and contacts made there, seem to be regarded as a plus.

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 Regan Forrest [regan at reganforrest.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 4:06 PM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

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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