As the 1979–1980 American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellow, I have decided to communicate to you early during my stay on the Hill. Former AGU Fellows have waited until their tenure was finished before providing us with their insights, which were based on a wide range of Hill experiences. Nevertheless, the first few weeks on the Hill are incredibly exhilarating, and, as this exhilaration is soon to be replaced by confusion and a sense of unease—on the job training, it is called—I thought I'd better commit to paper my first impressions.
Lunching in the Capitol Building with congressmen and senators, meeting with the staffs of Senate and House committees, attending lectures given by experts on the Hill's operations, all provided undeniable emotional highs for the 26 fellows with whom I've shared this orientation program. More importantly, however, in these initial days, we have been made aware (or at least reminded) that within the Hill's confines many tough decisions affecting the U.S. (and the world) are made. Furthermore, it appears that in these halls scientists and social scientists, if they are hard working, willing to give up depth for breadth, and able to accept the ultimately political nature of all congressional decisions, may at times be able to participate effectively in the process.