This is the time for the annual election of Forum officers. Your Forum is only as interesting and effective as you make it - by electing appropriate officers and by serving yourself. Please vote! And consider nominating your self in future elections.
I (AMS) owe our readers an apology for an apparent source of confusion in the News section of the July 2005 issue. I can now see that it may appear that "Unknowns at MIT" describes some anonymous author(s). Actually, the piece is an Editorial by the Boston Globe, written by their editors, given the title, by them, of "Unknowns at MIT", and republished in P&S with their permission. I thought that was made explicitly clear at the end of the piece, as we published it - but I now see that the heading could be somewhat misleading.
With this issue, we kick off a series of articles on the subject of science advice in the formulation of federal government policy. Professor Wolfgang Panofsky from SLAC has written our kickoff article, published in this issue, that summarizes the essential issues with which we will be dealing in the series. One of us (JJM) wants to thank Professor Panofsky for proposing this series and for providing a wealth of names of potential authors. In addition to the kickoff article by Panofsky, we are pleased to publish here the first paper of the series, by Professor Edwin Salpeter of Cornell University. He was asked to provide a comparison of the attitudes of various U.S. presidential administrations toward scientific input to policy formulation, and he responded with the informative and very frank paper that you see in this issue.
We would very much welcome manuscripts regarding this topic from interested readers of P&S.
Our government, with or without science, often seems very theatrical and so it is natural to follow our articles about the relation between science and government with one about the relation between science and theater. The theater often raises the question of what is "true". The following article on fallout and cancer indicates the difficulty much of the American public has in separating fact from fiction in their own lives. Apparently, given a contradiction between "scientific fact " and anecdote, much of our public - and their media and politicians - will opt for the latter. Perusing the references in Dr. Miles story, one is saddened by the number of fallacies which appear to have been fostered on the public by university presses; it appears that the refereeing process, of which our scientific societies are so proud, does not always extend to our distinguished academic presses.
AMS and JJM