I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank the American Geophysical Union for supporting a Congressional Science Fellowship. This year I had my first experience with this program when the AGU Congressional Science Fellow, George Shaw, spent the year in my office. It has proven to be an exceptionally good and enlightening experience for me and my staff and, I hope, for him as well.
I must admit I was skeptical as to the value of having a scientist in the office for a year, a skepticism which I suspect would likely be shared by most Members of Congress who tend to be steeped in the humanities or, worse, the law. That skepticism, I think, grows out of a prejudice: that scientists are both too clinical and too “ivory tower” to function well in the visceral and rough and tumble world of political policy making.