Citizen Scientists


  • Michael Carlowicz


A year ago, when many national science budgets were coming under intense scrutiny—particularly in the United States—many scientists began exhorting their colleagues to be more vocal in the public debate. Such outreach was touted as a matter of survival for scientists.

Neal Lane, however, asserts that scientists must have a higher goal than self-preservation. In several recent speeches, the director of the National Science Foundation has prodded scientists to assume a “new, additional role that scientists must play in society.” Lane has declared a need for “civic scientists,” researchers who are not just aware of but responsive to the needs of the society around them.