APS Fellow Lawrence Cranberg has yet to read Daniel Greenberg's book Science, Money and Politics, the source of this month's Back Page, but he is answering the call to public service nonetheless. Cranberg is seeking the 2002 Republican nomination to fill the seat of retiring Texas Senator Phil Gramm. As a political outsider Cranberg casts a much lower media profile than his opponent for the nomination, Texas Attorney General John Cronyn, not to mention a field of veteran politicos battling for the state's Democratic nomination. But if his bid is successful, Cranberg will be the first PhD physicist ever to join the Senate ranks.
Although he is new to the campaign trail, Cranberg is no stranger to political activism. He was a technical advisor for the US delegation to the First International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in 1955. While teaching at the University of Virginia (UVA), Cranberg also served as chair of the Central Virginia American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and helped the ACLU file a case that opened UVA to women students in 1970.
Readers of Physics Today, APS News, and other publications may know Cranberg, 84, as a tireless, and sometimes brusque, letter writer who takes editors to task over issues ranging from age-based bias to educational policy to some of the finer points in recent science history. Education and science policy are pivotal points in Cranberg's campaign, but his role as a scientist among politicians may be his most distinguishings characteristic. "What does America need more in the Senate," Cranberg asked during a recent interview, "a fifty-fourth lawyer, or the first physicist member?"
For more information about Lawrence Cranberg's political aspirations, visit www.LawrenceCranberg.org.
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette