The President’s Guide to Science
Here’s another very good science documentary from the BBC’s Horizon program.
As President Richard Nixon awarded the prestigious National Science Medal to a group of scientists, he was heard to say: “I have read the citations and I want you to know that I do not understand them, but I want you to know, too, that because I do not understand them, I realise how enormously important their contributions are to this nation.”
In order to make the best decisions regarding important issues as diverse as energy, the environment, nuclear weapons proliferation, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, abortion, biotechnology and embryonic stem-cell research, and the role of nuclear power, and how to ensure that it is used most effectively, the President of the United States really needs to have ready access to advisers who are scientifically literate, and abreast of the details of developments in science and technology.
To examine some key issues where the next President of the United States really should be well advised about the intricacies of scientific and technological issues, the Horizon team have assembled a panel of notable scientists, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, British Nobel-laureate biochemist Sir Paul Nurse, the controversial Professor Richard Dawkins, the notable theoretical physicist Professor Michio Kaku, and a few more, to examine these key contemporary issues of science in society.
Michio Kaku is none too fond of nuclear power – although, since he is clearly somebody who most physicists will at least hear out, and he’s clearly scientifically literate, one cannot help but think that perhaps Kaku is in a unique position to elucidate his scientific argument as to why, scientifically, nuclear energy is not safe, or that there is some intractable dilemma presented by radioactive byproduct materials.