Announcing "The Future of Science in America: The Election Issue"

This special magazine explores what's at stake for science & policy over the next four years.

Original artwork by Ray Domzalski Jr.

As reviewed in The Washington Post, "Tomorrow's challenges in science and politics: Magazine offers in-depth takes on these U.S. issues":

"Is it time for a new way to help make adults more ­science-literate? What should the next president know about science? Could science help strengthen American democracy? "The Future of Science in America: The Election Issue" has answers. The free, online magazine is packed with interesting takes on how science can serve the common good. And just in time. This year has challenged leaders, researchers and the public with thorny scientific questions, from the coronavirus pandemic to widespread misinformation on scientific issues. The magazine is a collaboration of the Aspen Institute, a think tank that brings together a variety of public figures and private individuals to tackle thorny social issues, the digital science magazine Leapsmag and GOOD, a social impact company. It's packed with 15 in-depth articles about science with a view toward our campaign year."




The Future of Science in America: The Election Issue offers wide-ranging perspectives on challenges and opportunities for science as we elect our next national and local leaders. The fast-striking COVID-19 pandemic and the more slowly moving pandemic of climate change have brought into sharp focus how reliant we will be on science and public policy to work together to rescue us from crisis. Doing so will require cooperation between both political parties, as well as significant public trust in science as a beacon to light the path forward.

In spite of its unfortunate emergence as a flash point between two warring parties, we believe that science is the driving force for universal progress. No endeavor is more noble than the quest to rigorously understand our world and apply that knowledge to further human flourishing. This magazine aspires to promote roadmaps for science as a tool for health, a vehicle for progress, and a unifier of our nation.

This special issue is a collaboration among LeapsMag, the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program, and GOOD, with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation.

It is available as a free, beautifully designed digital magazine for both desktop and mobile.


Kira Peikoff
Kira Peikoff is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Nautilus, Popular Mechanics, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other outlets. She is also the author of four suspense novels that explore controversial issues arising from scientific innovation: Living Proof, No Time to Die, Die Again Tomorrow, and Mother Knows Best. Peikoff holds a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and an M.S. in Bioethics from Columbia University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.
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This free, virtual event will address public concerns about the coronavirus vaccines' speed and safety, and their pending rollout.

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Kira Peikoff
Kira Peikoff is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Nautilus, Popular Mechanics, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other outlets. She is also the author of four suspense novels that explore controversial issues arising from scientific innovation: Living Proof, No Time to Die, Die Again Tomorrow, and Mother Knows Best. Peikoff holds a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and an M.S. in Bioethics from Columbia University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

President John F. Kennedy gave Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey the nation's highest federal civilian service award in 1962, saying she had "prevented a major tragedy of birth deformities."

The White House

In July 1956, a new drug hit the European market for the first time. The drug was called thalidomide – a sedative that was considered so safe it was available without a prescription.

Sedatives were in high demand in post-war Europe – but barbiturates, the most widely-used sedative at the time, caused overdoses and death when consumers took more than the recommended amount. Thalidomide, on the other hand, didn't appear to cause any side effects at all: Chemie Grünenthal, thalidomide's manufacturer, dosed laboratory rodents with over 600 times the normal dosage during clinical testing and had observed no evidence of toxicity.

The drug therefore was considered universally safe, and Grünenthal supplied thousands of doctors with samples to give to their patients. Doctors were encouraged to recommend thalidomide to their pregnant patients specifically because it was so safe, in order to relieve the nausea and insomnia associated with the first trimester of pregnancy.

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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @swattswrites.