EDITORIAL

Science's new frontier

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Science  05 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6533, pp. 967
DOI: 10.1126/science.abh3185

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  • RE: Science's New Frontier

    To make the proposed American Science Corps (ASC) most effective, it should be integrated within our existing national infrastructure for public science engagement. In a typical (non-Covid) year, over 400 U.S. institutional members of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) reach more than 75 million people in all 50 states. Like university homes to Ag Extension, these science centers and museums are well positioned to serve as hubs for ASC agents. In addition to providing access to public audiences, they bring professional expertise in informal STEM learning through exhibits, programs, and a wide range of community-based activities. They also provide connections to regional STEM learning ecosystems and higher education partners. Investment in ASC through this infrastructure would not only benefit the public, but also local institutions that are woefully underfunded educational resources.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: New Scientific Frontiers in the Time of COVID-19

    It is reassuring to read the prescient editorial regarding a new frontier for Science, a leading outlet for novel scientific research, as well as a new frontier for science, in general, during the time of COVID-19.

    It is unfortunate and disappointing that the fake news being disseminated widely on news and social media platforms downplays the role of science in dealing with COVID-19, despite fake news having started before the previous administration took office, and well before the pandemic started.

    Given the presence of climate change deniers at the highest levels in society, including national governments, it is hardly surprising that anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers have established a loud voice across age, gender, demographic, and socioeconomic cohorts.

    All leading research institutions, academic journals, and scientists need to make their voices heard loudly, clearly, and repeatedly in trying to educate society about what is based on science, and what is not.

    Education is a foundation of any civilized society and, even though it will take time, failure to provide scientific information and evidence-based communication has consequences that will last forever.

    Competing Interests: I have no competing interests.

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