Science & Public Policy

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    Pick Your Poison: Ignoring Science at Our Own Peril

    Throughout human history, our progress has been intimately linked to advances in science. Even in the so-called “dark ages,” the light of learning was turned on the natural world.  From those efforts came Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Galileo.  New understandings of the universe based on observation with new instruments challenged world-views, and the Pope, in one of the great refutations of science in recorded history, forced Galileo to recant his … Read More

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    Panelists Discuss the Public’s Perception of Science

    The Pell Center’s presentation earlier this month, “Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy, and Science in America” discussed the public’s perception of science, and focused mainly on global warming.  The presentation featured Suzanne Shaw, director of communications at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Todd Anthony Bianco, principal policy associate at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission. Shaw started off by discussing the public’s beliefs and mentioned that most Americans trust … Read More

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    Upcoming Panel Discussion | Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy, and Science in America

    On Wednesday, Mar. 4, the Pell Center will host a panel of speakers to address questions about the role of science in public decision-making in the United States. The panel discussion will be held at 7:00 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall in O’Hare Academic Center. Historically, the U.S. has been on the cutting edge of science – a practical society that leads the world in innovation and technology development. But while … Read More

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    Picks of the Week | U.S. and Ukraine; Scientists vs. the Public; Trans-Pacific Partnership

    American Arms and the War in Ukraine U.S. Considers Supplying Arms to Ukraine Forces, Officials Say | The New York Times The Escalation Advocates are Wrong on Ukraine | War on the Rocks Russian engagement in Eastern Ukraine is deepening, and fears are rising that when the conflict will grow in the coming months.  In the United States, an influential Washington think-tank issued a report, calling for the provision of … Read More

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    Pell Center Announces Upcoming Events for Spring 2015

    Topics to be discussed include “farm-to-table”, science and policy Newport, R.I.—The Pell Center has announced the topics for the 2015 Spring lecture series. All lectures are free and open to public and audience participation is encouraged. The lectures will be held at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. On Wednesday, Feb. 11, Farm to Table: Farming, Food Production, and Their Consequences will host a panel of speakers to discuss the chain … Read More

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    Picks of the Week | Attitudes Towards Science, Ebola News Coverage, U.S. Air Campaign Against ISIS

    Attitudes Towards Science What Scientists Really Do | New York Review of Books Media “Echo Chambers” and Climate Change | Yale University A current article in the New York Review of Books addresses Americans’ attitudes towards science. On one hand, we say we tend to trust and value scientific findings, and on the other hand, we’re willing to throw out scientific perspectives if they clash with other priorities such as … Read More

  • What’s the plan? – Adapting to a changing climate

    At the end of January, residents of the Newport area had a chance to hear from three individuals who are leading Rhode Island’s effort to deal with global warming and its impacts along the Ocean State’s extensive shoreline. While the speakers certainly shared some bad news, they also focused on our opportunity to get ahead of the problems through planning. At a public forum organized by the Pell Center for … Read More

  • Pell Center Lecture – Adapting to a Changing Climate: Policy Choices Facing Rhode Island

    How will climate change affect Rhode Island – particularly its coastlines – and how should the State be preparing for these changes? A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that impacts worldwide will be significant, and creates the opportunity for a timely discussion of this critical issue and its implications for our state. To be clear, this public forum is not intended to debate basic scientific … Read More

  • Do Facts Matter? Should they?

    Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously quipped: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” If only it were so simple. New research and events demonstrate that facts, science, and evidence don’t really matter when we’re discussing controversial issues—even if the controversy is engineered. A recent letter in the journal Nature examines the relationship between science literacy and the perception of risk from … Read More