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Presidential Science Advisors

Presidential Science Advisors:
Perspectives and Reflections on Science, Policy and Politics

Edited by Roger Pielke, Jr. and Roberta A. Klein

1st Edition: 2010
Approx. 280 p.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-90-481-3897-5
Available: August 2010

For the past 50 years a select group of scientists has provided advice to the US President, mostly out of the public eye, on issues ranging from the deployment of weapons to the launching of rockets to the moon to the use of stem cells to cure disease.  The role of the presidential science advisor came under increasing scrutiny during the administration of George W. Bush, which was highly criticized by many for its use (and some say, misuse) of science.  This edited volume includes, for the first time, the reflections of the presidential science advisors from Donald Hornig who served under Lyndon B. Johnson, to John Marburger, on their roles within both government and the scientific community.  It provides an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of the White House, as well as the political realities of providing advice on scientific matters to the presidential of the United States.  The reflections of the advisors are supplemented with critical analysis of the role of the science advisor by several well-recognized science policy practitioners and experts. This volume will be of interest to science policy and presidential history scholars and students.

This book will offer unique first-hand perspectives of the science advisors to the president, from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush. It includes some very unique history (e.g., Edward David’s chapter provides perspective on how President Nixon used the science advisor for political purposes that have been reported nowhere else to our knowledge).

About the series:

The 2005-06 series featured the following presidential science advisors: Dr. John Marburger, current science advisor to President George W. Bush; Dr. Neal Lane (President Bill Clinton 1998-2001); Dr. John H. Gibbons (President Bill Clinton 1993-1998); Dr. George A. Keyworth II (President Ronald Reagan 1981-1985); Dr. Frank Press (President Jimmy Carter 1977-1980); Dr. Edward David (President Richard Nixon 1970-1973); and Dr. Donald Hornig (President Lyndon Johnson 1964-1969). Dr. D. Allan Bromley (President George H.W. Bush 1989-1993) was scheduled to participate but unfortunately passed away soon before his visit.

Each science advisor presentation had three components: a short presentation by the advisor focusing on his tenure as science advisor, an interview by Center director Roger Pielke, Jr., and a question-and-answer session with audience members. Webcasts and transcripts of the presentations can be viewed from the series website.