Ann Bostrom, Ph.D.
Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy
University of Washington, Seattle
Background: Ann Bostrom studies how people perceive risk—such as the risks associated with vaccine use or from earthquakes—and the best ways to communicate about risk. She is also interested in how people make environmental policy decisions, such as decisions related to climate change. She is the Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle. This year she is also faculty coordinator for the Evans School Ph.D. Program in Public Policy and Management.
Question 1: Why did you become a researcher/engineer/scientist?
Answer: After working for a few years in Stockholm doing translation and accounting for a wood export firm, I applied and was lucky enough to be admitted to the Stockholm School of Economics. One of my first electives there was in economic geography. My research project for the course was on decision making under uncertainty, which continues to fascinate me.
Question 2: Tell us a short story about your childhood.
Answer: My father earned his doctorate in education from the University of Washington when my older brother, twin sister and I were in elementary school. As part of his dissertation research he built a couple of science learning stations (like portable work stations with movable walls, and home-constructed science kits) and would have us test them, which was great fun. We also at various times had large salt-water aquariums in the living room, and once a pet tarantula. But most fun was going with his class of science teachers to the beach to look under rocks and in tide pools.
Question 3: What's your favorite food? Got a sweet tooth? Caffeine junkie? Are you a chef or a restaurateur?
Answer: Fortuitously the Evans School is about a block from CaféSolstice, one of the best coffee shops in Seattle, or anywhere. A day wouldn't be complete without a double-tall ristretto Americano with room, made with beans from Lighthouse roasters.
Question 4: What's playing on your iPod/music player?
Answer: Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, a wide range of pieces by Astor Piazzolla, Bach's Goldberg Variations, and just about everything that Kronos Quartet has every published.
Question 5: What fuels your passion for your work?
Answer: Curiosity, and the enormous satisfaction of helping others.