For several years, scientists have criticized how elected officials have or have not utilized science in public policy decisions. Indeed, the few members of Congress who were once active scientists have for years encouraged more scientists to enter the political arena. More recently, organizations have even formed to help practicing scientists understand what might be involved with running for elected office.

Bill Foster, a physicist, is running as a Democrat for the congressional seat once held by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL). Foster, who spent the majority of his career at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has been holding onto a slight lead against his Republican opponent, Jim Oberweis. The race will be decided in a special election to be held on 8 March.

Foster, if elected, would join Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) – both Ph.D. physicists. Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, has a doctorate in clinical psychology, and Representative McNerney (D-CA) holds a Ph.D. in mathematics.


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