Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

To see ourselves as others see us


  • Fred Spilhaus


Earth and space scientists and the 2004 AGU Fall Meeting were the subject of a recent column in The Washington Post Magazine (30 January 2005) by Post writer Joel Achenbach. Eos is taking the unusual step of reprinting the entire article to stimulate discussion of our role in society. Are we doing what we should to inform the public of what we know and don't know about looming natural hazards, resource shortages, and threats to the environment? If not, what more could and should we do within our purview and appropriate role as scientists?

Achenbach is a long-time observer of AGU. He is the recipient of the 1990 AGU Walter Sullivan Award for journalism, the second writer to be given this award for making geophysical information accessible and interesting to the general public. This Union award is named for the renowned New York Times science writer who was its first recipient in 1989. Achenbach won the award for an article titled “Second Thoughts,” which was reprinted in Eos (vol.71, no.25, 19 June 1990).