New APS Blog Tackles Science and Public Policy
APS’s Washington DC office has launched a blog, designed to engage APS members, dealing with areas where science and public policy overlap. The Physics Frontline blog features news, articles and commentary written by the members of APS’s public affairs team.
Though only in its infancy, the blog has touched on some of the current hot-button issues facing the world of science. These range from the importance of climate change legislation and science education in schools, to the many ways that particle accelerators benefit society.
As Physics Frontline continues to expand, the public affairs team plans to continue to delve into all of the major issues the Washington office focuses on, including energy planning, innovative technology, climate change, basic research funding, and nuclear policy. However the team does not want the flow of information to be a one-way street, and hopes to receive input and opinions from the members themselves.
“The blog allows for conversation, that’s one of the main things we want to do,” said Washington Office press secretary Tawanda Johnson, “We get feedback from our members right away through the blog.”
Though designed to appeal to all members of APS, the team is making a special effort to reach out to physicists in industry. Johnson said that historically their office has had a harder time engaging these physicists on some of the issues. Reaching people who aren’t APS members is a goal for the team as well, especially individuals working on science issues on Capitol Hill and in the general public.
The blog first went live on October 12th, and has already seen over a thousand unique visits to the site. Everyone at the Washington Office is contributing, with new content posted several times a week.
Getting the government to properly address concerns about the future of energy and the environment is a major focus of APS’s advocacy team, and is likewise a prominent topic on their blog.
“As the Senate kicks off debate on climate change legislation, one holdover from the House discussions remains: Does the bill include adequate R&D funding for new energy technologies?” Jodi Lieberman, senior government relations specialist, wrote in an early post, “If the U.S. is going to achieve emissions targets…then we absolutely must continue to develop advanced energy technologies to accomplish the goal.”
In addition to blogging about issues facing science, the blog also features perspectives on what it’s like to advocate for science. Brian Mosley, the office’s legislative correspondent, has been writing an ongoing series debunking popular myths about public advocacy.
“Scientists are often taken aback after I explain that being polite is the best way to have a productive meeting with elected officials,” Mosley wrote in a recent post “It’s important to remember that as a constituent (AKA: a voter), you are the representative’s boss. Representatives and staffers know this and are going to be as helpful as possible.”
Physics Frontline Blog