Science Diplomacy

hands_digitalI didn’t know that Trey was going to talk about scientists and social media today–it’s funny how themes develop even when you aren’t trying.  I was planning to post about some things I came across this past weekend that relate to scientists and social networking, of a sort.  A more formal sort, but the same thing nonetheless.

I was clicking around the British media this weekend (because I think they often have better science coverage than the US) and I came across a post on the Guardian blog that I found interesting.  Science can bridge national divides was the title, and I was pleased to see commentary on some of the emphasis on the “soft diplomacy” of science that the Obama administration is fostering.  I think this is a great idea and can really be effective.  Every group we speak with is full of cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, multi-lingual awesome brains.  (Another interesting feature of our software trainings is that they are nearly always 50% female or better.  My theory is that women are more likely to ask for directions and seek out software training :)  But I am unencumbered by any data to support that.)

That article also linked to an interview with Harold Varmus who is strongly advocating for science as diplomacy.  And Varmus has this administration’s ear, I know.  I love the idea of the “Global Science Corps”, a sort of science Peace Corps.  Some people have been working on building that idea for a while, but in the last administration Science-as-Diplomacy didn’t get much traction.

One of the strange things about this, though, is that I’m getting this from the British media. I haven’t seen much about it in the US.  Why is that?

This science-as-diplomacy thing, though, ties in with the social media things because every single day I read blogs by scientists, science writers, and science-philes around the planet.  I know it isn’t like being in the same room as them, but it often feels that way to me.  We have conversations across our blogs.  I feel like they are nearly colleagues.  And expanding those conversations to include more scientists in more places would be so valuable for all of us.  And for the health of the planet.

Sign me up.  If the GSC can use a software trainer and blogger I’m available!