Lofgren, Hirono Introduce Bill to Create a Science Laureate of the United States
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today introduced the Science Laureates of the United States Act of 2017, bicameral legislation to establish a Science Laureate for the United States.
Similar to the Poet Laureate, the Science Laureate of the United States would promote a greater appreciation of a field important for all Americans—raising the public’s awareness about scientific feats and accomplishments, and inspiring others to pursue innovations in the science field.
“Scientists like Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, or Sally Ride can capture the public's attention and inspire Americans,” said Representative Lofgren. “Establishing a Science Laureate will provide a platform for more scientists to inspire us. Science and technology is ever more important to the United States’ competitive edge in the modern world. A Science Laureate can elevate, articulate, and promote science to the broader public, as well as be a role model for students by encouraging and inspiring them to be the innovators of tomorrow.”
“Our country’s scientific achievements contribute to our national economy, while also improving and enhancing our local communities, but American students continue to lag behind their international peers in STEM proficiency,” said Senator Hirono. “The Science Laureate of the United States will help motivate our students to enter into scientific fields – increasing their ability to compete in the global economy.”
The position of Science Laureate will serve both as an award for an exceptional scientist, as well as a pedestal from which he or she could speak to the nation as a credible independent, nonpartisan public advocate on the importance of Science broadly and the scientific issues of the day. This honorary position will be appointed by the National Science Foundation from nominees recommended by the National Academy of Science to serve for a one-year term.
The bill is supported by Research!America, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, the Soil Science Society of America, and the American Chemical Society.
Original cosponsors of the Science Laureates of the United States Act include U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Donald S. Beyer (D-Va.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Daniel W. Lipinski (D-Ill.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), and Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.).