Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interview with the two particle physicists in the US Congress

in Politico (Via a comment in http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2014/03/paul-krugman-wealth-over-work.html)
"Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) share an atypical background: they are both particle physicists. Serving respectively since 2008 and 1999, they are currently the only two physicists in Congress, a body made up mostly of lawyers and career politicians, where members with technical backgrounds – such as engineers, economists, and scientists – are rare.
The Politic had a chance to hear from both Foster and Holt, who shared some of their thoughts, based on their congressional experience, about the connection of science and technical training with policy making, an overlap which includes much more than science policy."
From Holt "By thinking like a scientist, I mean asking questions in ways that they can be answered based on evidence, and then subjecting your answers to scrutiny by others so you don’t become trapped in a self-delusion. That’s what science is, and that’s what is so rare in politics"
From Foster "n the United States Congress, it’s a roughly fifty/fifty mix of lawyers and career politicians, and about 4 percent people with – a very generous definition of – a technical background, including large animal veterinarians and economists. Then you have about 4 percent that could be called scientists or technical people. So you see [the differences] very strongly in the behavior."

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