Convincing a skeptical public about science is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Tuesday night


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Convincing a skeptical public about science is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Tuesday night

HOUSTON – (April 3, 2017) – William Press, the Raymer Professor in Computer Sciences and in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, will discuss the importance of effective science advocacy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Tuesday night.

This event is sponsored by the Baker Institute’s Science and Technology Policy Program in conjunction with Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences. It is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Who: William Press, the Raymer Professor in Computer Science and in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, senior fellow emeritus at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

What: An event titled “Science in Action: Advice on Convincing a Skeptical Public.”

When: Tuesday, April 4, 6:30-8 p.m. A reception will be held at 6.

Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St.

Scientists have the obligation to promote science as a public good worthy of taxpayers’ dollars, according to event organizers. But how do they convince the public to listen to them at the other end of the scientific process when science has something important to say on public issues? In what ways have they succeeded in galvanizing public action in a direction justified by science, and in what areas have they failed? Scientists should be more active in communicating the merits of a rationalist approach to decision-making and leading by their own example in the public space, organizers said. In education at all levels, science should encourage students to think, “How would a scientist approach this policy decision?”

In his presentation, Press will address these urgent issues and argue that scientists should make greater efforts to clearly separate fact-based conclusions from value-based judgments, even when both are useful. His remarks will come less than three weeks before the March for Science, a series of rallies and marches set to be held in Washington, D.C., and more than 300 cities across the world April 22.

The public must RSVP for the event at A live webcast will be available at the event page.

Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.

For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to Media are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage.


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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.