Recorded: 22 Aug 2008
So, I still have this important goal. I write about it. I’ve already written several editorials on this subject. But basically, I learned in Washington that science is much more important than most scientists think. And that we need to get science throughout our society. And the only way to do that… you can’t make people appreciate or use science by throwing science at them when it seems so strange and foreign. You need individuals, human beings, I call them adaptors who are from the scientific enterprise, have a Ph.D., have done research, are part of the scientific enterprise. But then leave and go somewhere else, whether it’s a school system, a congressional committee, which is what I saw very valuable in Washington for a few years, or you know, or a newspaper, or a TV station, or a law firm, or wherever. They can then be the funnels through which scientific wisdom is poured into those organizations and expertise and very important also through which the needs of those organizations for science can be expressed. Because, I’ve learned that every part of our society has a different culture. The scientific culture we all take for granted after we’ve been in it for a while. But it’s different from other cultures in the …Just to take an obvious example, from where I’m sitting…I’m trying to work with the San Francisco school district for years and years on science education. The culture of the school district is very different from the culture of the scientific community and this is what makes it so hard to be effective in working together. So I’m a strong advocate for getting people from the scientific community that they should leave and work in the school district so they become a part of that culture and be the interpreters between science and the educational enterprise.
Bruce Alberts, currently Editor-in-chief of Science, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysic at the University of California and United States Science Envoy. He received A.B. (1960) in Biochemical Science from Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ph.D. (1965) from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1966 he joined Department of Chemistry at the Princeton University and after 10 years he became professor and vice chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysic at the UCSF.
Alberts work is best known for his work on the protein complexes that allow chromosomes to be replicated. He is one of the authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a major textbook in the field. He served two-six years terms as a president of National Academy of Science (1993-2005). During his administration at NAS, he was involved in developing the landmark of National Science Education standards.
Among many honors and awards (16 honorary degrees), he is Co-chair of the InterAcademy Council and a trustee of Gordon and Betty Moore Fundation.
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