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 King

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Science and Public Policy: Conversation with Sir David King, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, September 15, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Sir David King, who is the Chief Scientific Advisor to the British prime minister and Head of the Office of Science and Technology there. He continues to be the 1920 Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge University where he was Chairman of the Chemistry Department and Master of Downing College.

  1. Background ... South Africa ... paint business ... early love of science ... the Apartheid state ... letters to the editor as political subversion ... viewing Apartheid with a scientist's eye ... doing chemistry ... solid surface and gas interactions ... new technology's ability to tackle complex questions ... temperament of a scientist ... sense of excitement ... the necessity of being challenged by fellow scientists ...
  2. Government Service ... communicating science to politicians ... and to the public ... simple language ... persuading scientists to investigate politically pertinent topics ... case study: foot-and-mouth disease ... epidemic out of control ... convincing the public ... model for other democracies and science ... case study: failure of nations to act on scientific understanding of tsunami-generating tectonics
  3. Climate Change ... long history of climate change science ... greenhouse gases are like a blanket ... consequences of global warming ... sea level rise ... cultural impacts ... resistance in U.S. culture to climate change science ... U.K. success at reducing emissions ... tri-partisan agreement among British politicians ... widespread British support ... U.S. population coming around ... fiscal driver: carbon emissions trading ... European consensus ... the new gold standard
  4. Looking to the Future ... what will motivate Americans? ... insurance industry ... popular opinion ... desire to be perceived as leader ... the rapidly developing nations ... transferring technology to allow leapfrogging ... changing our definition of success ... gaining public trust in science ... U.S. - U.K. differences: GM foods vs cloning ... looking to science for a personal advantage ... open debates ... future challenges

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