28 June 2010

The Other Book

Our book on presidential science advice (along with a few chapters on Congress) is now out. Here is how Springer describes the book:
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 adviser 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 advisers from Donald Hornig who served under Lyndon B. Johnson, to John Marburger, the previous science advisor, 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 advisers are supplemented with critical analysis of the role of the science adviser by several well-recognized science policy practitioners and experts. This volume will be of interest to science policy and presidential history scholars and students.

And here is the Table of Contents:

1. Introduction and acknowledgments

Part I – Overview of Presidential Science Advising

2. The Rise and Fall of the President’s Science Advisor

Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor, Environmental Studies and Director, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado

Roberta Klein, Managing Director, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado

Part II – The Science Advisors In Their Own Words

3. Science Advice in the Johnson White House

Donald Hornig, Science Advisor to President Lyndon Johnson (1964-69)

4. Science, Politics and Policy in the Nixon Administration

Edward David, Science Advisor to President Richard Nixon (1970-73)

5. Science and Technology in the Carter Presidency

Frank Press, Science Advisor to President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

Phil Smith, Associate Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy (1976 – 1981)

6. Policy, Politics and Science in the White House-- The Reagan Years

George Keyworth, Science Advisor to President Ronald Reagan (1981-85)

7. Science Advice to President Bill Clinton

John Gibbons, Science Advisor to President Bill Clinton (1993-98)

8. Threats to the Future of U.S. Science and Technology

Neal Lane, Science Advisor to President Bill Clinton (1998-2001)

9. Science Advice in the George W. Bush Administration

John H. Marburger, II, Science Advisor to President George W. Bush (2001 – present)

Part III – A View From The Hill


Daniel Sarewitz, Director, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University

10. Science Advice in the Congress?

Radford Byerly, Staff Director, U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science (1991 – 1993)

11. Science, Policy and Politics: A View from Capitol Hill

Robert Palmer, Staff Director, U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science (1993 – 2004)

Part IV – Critique

12. Science, Politics, and Two Unicorns: An Academic Critique of Science Advice

Dave Guston, Associate Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes; Professor, Political Science, Arizona State University


  • In Memoriam to D. Allan Bromley

  • Transcripts of question and answer sessions from science advisor public appearances at the University of Colorado – Boulder

Dr. Donald Hornig

Dr. Edward David

Dr. George Keyworth

Dr. John Gibbons

At $139, it won't be a hot seller but it should be of interest to anyone interested in science advice and history at the highest levels of the US government.


  1. Too bad the book came out too soon to include Elena Kagan's science fraud for the Clinton White House. Talk about politicizing science! Of course, the dishonest critics who screamed about being offended by Bush will not utter a peep when genuine science fraud for political purposes is uncovered.

    And their credibility, already approaching zero, is sliding into negative territory.

  2. Roger,
    Why didn't you start with Vannevar Bush? Or would he have been a book by himself? Or did you think it better to stick to people still here to be interviewed?

  3. -1-Stan

    I would have loved to interview VB! Unfortunately, one of our criteria was to be sentient ;-)

    However, our synthesis chapter does go back to the 1940s ... and some work I am now doing goes back further.

  4. Roger,

    William Saletan in Salon re: Kagan scandal, "the larger problem is the credence subsequently given to ACOG's statement by courts, including the Supreme Court. Judges have put too much faith in statements from scientific organizations. This credulity must stop."


    He's right. Science has been exposed as utterly corrupt by politics. The problem is not that politicians use scientists as cover for their pet policies, it's that citizens ever thought that science organizations had any integrity. Supposedly "consensus" statements by politicized groups of scientists are garbage politics.

    How many more decades of this corruption does it take before the news media lets the public in on the reality? Unfortunately, the news media is even more corrupt than the scientists' organizations and by a large margin.