August 01, 2017

Hirono, Lofgren Introduce Bill to Create a Science Laureate of the United States

Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced the Science Laureates of the United States Act of 2017, bicameral legislation to establish a Science Laureate for the United States.

“Our country’s scientific achievements contribute to our national economy, while also improving and enhancing our local communities, but American students continue to lag behind their international peers in STEM proficiency,” said Senator Hirono. “The Science Laureate of the United States will help motivate our students to enter into scientific fields – increasing their ability to compete in the global economy.”

“Scientists like Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, or Sally Ride can capture the public's attention and inspire Americans,” said Representative Lofgren. “Establishing a Science Laureate will provide a platform for more scientists to inspire us. Science and technology is ever more important to the United States’ competitive edge in the modern world. A Science Laureate can elevate, articulate, and promote science to the broader public, as well as be a role model for students by encouraging and inspiring them to be the innovators of tomorrow.”

Similar to the Poet Laureate of the United States, a position that was formally established by Senator Spark M. Matsunaga in 1985, the Science Laureate of the United States would promote a greater appreciation of a field important for all Americans—raising the public’s awareness about scientific feats and accomplishments, and inspiring others to pursue innovations in the science field.

The legislation would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to appoint a Science Laureate of the United States based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. The Science Laureate would be appointed on an annual basis, with an opportunity to serve for a longer period of time, as determined by NSF.

The bill is supported by Research!America, Council on Undergraduate Research, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Geophysical Union, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Chemical Society.