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A Science Laureate for the United States?

Who would wear the laurels? Members of the U.S. Congress have proposed legislation that would create a Science Laureate.


A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers wants the United States to have a Science Laureate. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) yesterday introduced legislation that would empower the president to select a "nationally renowned expert" who would "travel around the country to inspire future scientists," according to a statement released by Hirono's office.

"Like the Poet Laureate, the Science Laureate would be an unpaid, honorary post," according to the statement. The laureate would serve a 1- or 2-year term, and "would also be encouraged to continue their important scientific work." Nominees would be vetted by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

"The U.S. Science Laureate will be a national role model who can encourage students to learn more about the sciences," Hirono said in the statement. "By elevating great American scientific communicators, we can empower students - especially girls and minorities - to get excited about science."

Science organizations, including AAAS, the publisher of ScienceInsider, are backing the proposal. Having bipartisan authors "speaks volumes about the importance of [science, technology, engineering and math education] to our nation's future," James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, said in the statement.

Some science fans aren't waiting for Congressional action to put forward nominees. One Daily Kos poster dubbed "raatz" nominated astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Who would you nominate?