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Featured Force: William Ross McCluney

William Ross McCluney

Each month, we highlight a AAAS member who is a force for science. To find out how you can be a force for science, visit

William Ross McCluney earned his PhD in physics from the University of Miami and his scientific career has spanned five decades.  

Tell us about a hobby or passion related to science advocacy

After 50 or so years pursuing my career in optical physics and also being an off-and-on environmental activist, I realized most of what I had been doing was relatively ineffectual. Then I discovered Citizens’ Climate Lobby and its very sensible proposal for accelerating that transition through national political action, so [I] joined and became active in its local chapter. 

Read a book you are dying to tell your peers about? Give us a brief summary and why you love it.

I especially liked the Foreword by Lawrence M. Krauss to Shawn Lawrence Otto’s book, The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It … and the first few chapters of the book. Both gave a short history of the rises and falls of great societies, the falls often being due to an abandonment of openness, dedication to truth, and yielding to destructive ideologies. Over the last few decades, the U.S. and some other countries with similar excellent and successful periods or eras have started declines that have culminated with increasing departures from rational, fact- and science-based evidence for guiding public policy, which aggressively needs to be countered. 

Share a Web link/video/blog etc. that you’ve thought was especially compelling at communicating science.

CCL's Media Training Tips with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.” How Katherine gets into the above presentation is entertaining, due to the animated and infectious way she brings the listener in to her presentation. She had no idea how to do her first interview, but kept getting better as she found ways of telling the core story very briefly, anticipating being cut off at any time by commercial breaks or moving to another subject. 

What contact have you had with your representatives?

Through Citizen’s Climate Lobby, I traveled to Washington in late 2016 for a one-day session of structured lobbying with the staffs of several congressmen. At the invitation of the Union of Concerned Scientists, I traveled again to Washington and on 29 January 2018 joined another Florida scientist (from FSU) to chat with the staffs of [Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson] on newly introduced bills that would undermine currently good regulations on car and truck emissions and fuel efficiency.

What advice do you have for those who’d like to get started advocating for science?

Watch the Katherine Hayhoe video mentioned above. 

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are those of the AAAS member and are not necessarily the opinions of AAAS, its officers, general members, and/or AAAS MemberCentral department or staff.

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<p>William Ross McCluney</p>
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