About the SA Blog Network



Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American
Observations HomeAboutContact

What 3 Science Questions Do You Think the Presidential Candidates Need to Answer before November 6th?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Email   PrintPrint

As you may remember from back in February, the Guardian U.S. and NYU’s Studio 20 journalism lab teamed up to learn what all citizens think about the upcoming election, not just those who care about politics with a capital P.

Back then, the questions were posed to the candidates in the GOP primary race. Now that this race is effectively over, it is time to shift focus to the general election.

Now we want to ask the science-loving Scientific American community to voice their questions, ideas and concerns with what’s been missing from the national conversation so far. What do you want to know before you cast your vote this November?

Other (media) organizations will tap into their own communities to identify questions relevant to their interests. We want to her you, the STEM community, as to which science, engineering, technology, medicine, environment and technology-related questions you want to see asked of the two major party candidates.

So tell us: if you could pose a question to both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, what would it be?

Give us your own question and “like” your favorites from fellow Scientific Americans on our Facebook page, and we’ll publish the top three both on our site and The Guardian’s Citizens Agenda.

Add your three suggestions to our Facebook page by Tuesday at noon.

Image Source

Rights & Permissions

Comments 18 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. accasbel 10:25 am 04/25/2012

    My three questions:
    1) About how old is the earth?
    2) Do you believe there is a consensus on climate change?
    3) How much R&D should the government fund?

    Link to this
  2. 2. ludvig 11:03 am 04/25/2012

    1 Do you think the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin is correct or do you think the version of the Bible is the corect one?
    2 Do you think USA should try to send a group of astronauts to mars and establish a colony in the next 10 years?
    3 Do you think is right to teach the principles of science in primary schools?

    Link to this
  3. 3. synner90 11:30 am 04/25/2012

    Even if I am not an American I believe that the questions have a wide relevance. I would like to use the two questions from the first commentor:
    1) About how old do you think the earth is?

    2) Do you believe there is a consensus on climate change? If yes, how far can you make your govt go to make sure it materializes?

    3) How much should the government spend on non miltary R&D, higher education, primary education, healthcare military, and terrorism? In ratios.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Jim Raff 11:38 am 04/25/2012

    1. What is the role of government in the potection of the common and public resources – air, water and land?

    2. How do you define the right balance between econimic development and environmental protection?

    3. What is the role of government in education, from birth to post graduate studies?

    Link to this
  5. 5. dsadsa 11:55 am 04/25/2012

    I have just one: What is the role of religion in science?

    I’m voting for the candidate whose answer is the closest to “none”.

    Link to this
  6. 6. emhomm4 12:01 pm 04/25/2012

    1.) What are you going to do, if anything, to increase the scientific, mathematical, and critical thinking skills of American students?
    2.) How will you, as a non-scientist, lead a rapidly changing and highly technological world?
    3.) How will your understanding and opinions about science affect your decision making process?

    Link to this
  7. 7. nouseforaname 12:55 pm 04/25/2012

    1. Did you invent the internet?
    2. Was Jar-jar possible through evolution?
    3. Who put the “bomp” in the “bomp bah bomp bah bomp?”

    Link to this
  8. 8. the skeptic platano 1:07 pm 04/25/2012

    My three questions:
    1) What is your definiton of a scientific theory?

    2) Do humans and apes have a common ancestor?

    3) Do you belive possible that human activity is causing climate change? What does the bulk of data sugest?

    Link to this
  9. 9. melban 1:22 pm 04/25/2012

    1. Do you think creation theory or the like should be allowed in school
    2. What are you doing to head forward in manned space exploration
    3. How would you make your case that reliance on continued development of carbon based energy isn’t a long term strategy

    Link to this
  10. 10. shinymind 2:05 pm 04/25/2012

    1. Are you aware of the corrupting influence government funding has had on science?

    2. Even the most devout global warming advocates grudgingly admit that proposed regulations would only delay the inevitable (if global warming is in fact occurring), while the political/economic costs of such regulation would be devastating to the United States. Are you factoring the cost vs. the benefits of global warming regulation in your policy decisions? Will you publish this analysis?

    3. Government fear mongering is creating a multi-billion dollar niche industry for the politically well-connected in the scientific community. How do you keep scientists from pandering to politicians by telling them what they want to hear so as to sustain their alliances?

    Link to this
  11. 11. JamesDavis 2:12 pm 04/25/2012

    1. Which do you believe is the most important to America – science or religion, and where do you believe each belong in our society and what should each be doing and by whom?
    2. If you can do anything you want to eliminate pollution in America – what would that be and how would you go about doing it if money was not a hindrance?
    3. If you could invent anything you want – what would it be and what would it be used for?

    Link to this
  12. 12. singing flea 2:57 pm 04/25/2012

    1. What will you do to help restore our constitutional rights?
    2. What will you do to make the tax laws fair and equitable for the rich and the other 99%?
    3. Will you abolish lobbyists and PACs?

    Link to this
  13. 13. AliceO 7:06 pm 04/25/2012

    1.) Will you take measures to reinforce the U.S. power grids to safeguard against a catastrophic solar flare?
    2.) Will you (your administration) provide financial support for space programs OR dedicate a practical resource plan?
    3.) Some voters feel the U.S. has become very lax in its scientific endeavors, particular those in the academic arena. In other words, we as a nation have fallen behind. Can you please name three major scientific breakthroughs supported by the U.S. government in the last (7) seven years?

    Link to this
  14. 14. natalieasaurus 11:30 pm 04/25/2012

    1. What are your plans to inspire children to become scientists?
    2. How does the United States’ “commitment to scientific advancement” compare to other nations’?
    3. Where does funding for scientific advancement rank among other issues/topics without our government?

    Link to this
  15. 15. natalieasaurus 11:30 pm 04/25/2012

    without = within**

    Link to this
  16. 16. dubina 10:27 am 04/26/2012

    I would venture more than three questions but fewer than the number of (serious) questions that should put to those gentlemen.

    !. What is the cost of American college education relative to its value to students and to the nation at large? Please describe that cost/benefit ratio in terms of its distribution throughout the current population of students who are in college or who are about to attend. Is that ratio favorable or unfavorable? If less than favorable, what actions would you recommend as President to make it more favorable?

    2. If roughly a third of the cost of American healthcare goes to tests and procedures that are ineffective or unnecessary, what part of Federal healthcare funds (eg, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) is now being spent on tests and procedures that are ineffective or unnecessary? Why do doctors order tests and procedures that are known to be ineffective or unnecessary? Is the Federal government complicit in that practice, and if so, why?

    3. When should we expect to see wrongdoers from the recent past (hedgefund managers, financiers, et alia) indicted and prosecuted for fraud and other criminal activities? Would you be satisfied by token indictments and prosecutions, or would you promote stronger law enforcement? Please comment on the effectiveness of existing Federal laws and regulations, and, if you find them inadequate, what would you do make them more strict, more binding and more fair to the nation at large?

    4. By what criteria would you / do you judge success or failure in Afghanistan? Have our forces been deployed there long enough? What purpose(s) does/do their current deployment serve? When will that purpose / those purposes finally be served and the American mission finish?

    5. Should states enact immigration laws particular to their border situations? Should particular immigration laws be enforced by federal troops, state troopers, local law enforcement officials and/or citizens at their own initiative? Can Mexico do more to prevent crime and illegal to the United States? What would you do to encourage that result?

    6. What would you do to “normalize” relations with Cuba, and why would do so? Alternatively, why would you do nothing?

    Link to this
  17. 17. RogerTheGeek 8:01 pm 05/1/2012

    1. what level of support do you give to basic research support such as the National Science Foundation and NASA?
    2. How would you reorganize the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency to better define their missions?
    3. What should the US role be in controlling climate change and what would you do to advance it?

    Link to this
  18. 18. kclancy 10:58 am 05/4/2012

    1) How do conception and contraception work?

    2) What should doctors and patients be able to do when the mother’s and fetus’s needs are opposed?

    3) When are you going to provide more funding for science so that as many as 25% of our labs don’t need to close within the next few years?

    Ooops… were those leading questions? ;)

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article