Alan Alda

Dear Research Advocate: Last Sunday, the National Academy of Sciences presented its prestigious Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda, actor and science communicator, who joins an esteemed group of Medal awardees, including Bill and Melinda Gates and Research!America’s Chair, former Congressman John Porter. In Alda’s acceptance remarks he described a scenario in which members of Congress passed notes to each other during testimony by scientists: “Do you get this? What are they talking about?” In short, a failure of what he called ‘relatability.’ He went on to say that scientists are, all too often, not just failing to communicate with non-scientists, but ‘ex-communicating’ them from science...
Dear Research Advocate: What will determine the speed and scope of medical progress in the years to come? There is more to it than the essential ingredients of money and brainpower. Sound tax policy is essential if we are to propel medical progress. Yesterday, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-04), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced a comprehensive tax reform bill. While the prospects for passage during this election year are ’€” to put a positive spin on it ’€” uncertain, Congressman Camp laid down the gauntlet for much-needed tax and entitlement reform, and he also proposed making the R&D tax credit permanent. Uncertainty surrounding future access to the R&D tax credit...
A tenet of Research!America’€™s advocacy has always been to implore scientists to tell their stories ’€“ not their data. Stories connect with other people, i.e., non-scientists, in a way that data cannot. A hundred heartfelt words do more than 100 million data points. We know this because people, i.e., non-scientists, have told us. They have demonstrated it to us. Alan Alda’€™s improv classes at Stony Brook University turned scientists into storytellers. We’€™ve heard from Members of Congress that stories keep them engaged. And if that’€™s not enough, we have an in-person demonstration from part of the crew at the traveling show/podcast called The Story Collider . Ben Lillie, PhD, is the co...

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