The League of Young Voters

Science and Obama — by Sam Frankel
March 4, 2008, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I thought I’d share an adaptation of a post I made on my own blog a few days ago, which was itself based on an email I sent to the Barack Obama campaign a few days prior at the behest of the “Science Debate 2008” organizers. I didn’t originally write this with the intent of posting it here, so it’s a bit rough, but it does contain the main ideas regarding the SD2008 effort.

As a supporter (in Maine) I’d like to encourage you to confirm your attendance at the Science Debate 2008 in April in Pennsylvania. Just by confirming your attendance you will send a strong message to the scientific community (which includes not just scientists but people concerned with economic development, environmental health, and other issues that are based on a scientific foundation) your concern for the major challenges facing our society. I realize how busy this season is for your campaign, but just by confirming your attendance you will take the lead over your Democratic and Republican competition for the presidency. This is an opportunity to get out in front on an iconic platform, a President who embraces the role of science in policy making, and make some real change happen by engaging the scientific community, a group who (it must be said) have had a tendency in the past to fail to engage politically. However, scientists as a community are becoming more politically aware, and the first candidate to confirm their Science Debate attendance is going to score MAJOR points with us. As a young scientist and a supporter, again I hope that you will confirm your attendance at Science Debate 2008.

Thanks, and we’re all pulling for your campaign up here in Portland, Maine!


Samuel E. Frankel
Graduate Student, Biology
Maine ScienceCorps Fellow
University of Southern Maine
Portland, Maine

It’s important to emphasize that Science Debate 2008 is the result of an upwelling of enthusiasm from the science blogging community, specifically Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection but quickly adopted by many others. As Sheril says in a video posted on their site (, we’re not pushing for this as another interest group that wants its concerns heard, but because the problems we need to address through science and technology are the common concern of all people. Although the scientific community has certainly felt this way for decades, it has historically not done a great job of conveying that to the broader public. I am greatly impressed at the rise of the scientific Web 2.0 community, and especially that our enthusiasm has taken on such a tangible expression. I know that this might not be up everyone’s alley, interest-wise, but I thought it might be interesting to share what working with The League has led me to in “the rest of my life” and specifically my work in the sciences. For more info on SD2008, and to contact the candidates in support of it if you are so inclined, check out


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