Presidential candidates speak out on science policies

October 08, 2004

College Park, MD - (October 8, 2004) Presidential candidates answer questions about missile defense, climate change, funding for research, nuclear weapons and more in an article in the October 2004 issue of Physics Today, the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics.

With the exception of the debate over stem cell research, science remains a background topic in the current campaign. Democratic candidate John Kerry has occasionally highlighted US science policy and used it against President Bush, charging that the administration has put politics and ideology ahead of science. "Let scientists do science again," a headline on the Kerry election website says.

Bush has responded, primarily through his science adviser, John Marburger, by pointing to the 44% increase in federal R&D since fiscal year 2001 and the record $132 billion in the administration's FY 2005 R&D budget. "Kerry ignores President Bush's record science investments," reads a headline on the Bush reelection website.

Kerry answers by noting that most of the R&D money is going for weapons systems and defense spending related to the war in Iraq, not basic science programs. Marburger and other administration officials point to several R&D initiatives, including new nanotechnology centers, the Moon/Mars space initiative, and the program to develop hydrogen fuel technology.

In an effort to get the candidates to specifically address questions of interest to the science community, Physics Today has continued a tradition begun in 1976; it asked Bush and Kerry nine questions covering a range of science topics. Their answers, sometimes direct and sometimes vague, show fundamental differences on several key issues.

Read the candidates' answers at

American Institute of Physics

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