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Scientific community/Scientific approaches

AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellow Ben Preston started his fellowship year as the Deputy Director of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and he’s ending it as the Director of the Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program at the RAND Corporation. Preston studies how adaptation efforts can reduce risk from climate change, especially at the state and city level (such as impacts to critical energy, water and transportation systems). At RAND, he’ll focus particularly on policy-relevant research. He notes that RAND also has a convening function that encourages dialogue and outreach to a wide spectrum of decision-makers, ranging from local to international agencies, organizations, and businesses.

In an effort to address the national need for an appreciation and understanding of how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help us face world challenges, Professor of Physics Jordan Goodman and his colleagues at the University of Maryland created "The Marquee Courses in Science and Technology." The courses, are for non-science majors, cover topics such as, weather and climate, global energy use, and modern medicine. By the end of the course, Goodman says the students should be able to:

  1. Look at complex questions and identify the science in the question and how it impacts and is impacted by political, social, economic, and ethical dimensions.
  2. Understand the limits of scientific knowledge.
  3. Critically evaluate science arguments.
  4. Ask good questions.
  5. Find information using various sources and evaluate the veracity of the information.
  6. Communicate scientific ideas effectively.
  7. Relate science to a personal situation.