Barack Obama has captured the lion’s share of visible support among scientists, reports AAAS. “It’s an enthusiasm chasm,” says Michael Stebbins, president of the Scientists and Engineers for America Action Fund, which created a YouTube channel for scientists to explain their choice. As of press time, 22 videos have been posted, all by Obama supporters.
Bernice Durand, a physicist who worked for antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968, has jumped back into the political fray for Obama. Since September, she’s worked with more than three dozen scientists who’ve placed articles or letters in 50-plus newspapers in 20 states, most of them considered still up for grabs. The scientists have also appeared on radio shows and been interviewed by reporters covering the campaign. “On issues of science,” says Durand, “on support for research, and on [Obama’s] interactions with the scientific community, there’s no contest compared to McCain,” she says.
Nothing like the disaster of the past 8 years and the potential for so much worse to motivate scientists to finally step out from behind the wall of science and claim their rightful—and much needed—voices in society.
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones’ environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the PEN USA Literary Award, the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal.