Kei Koizumi: on the inexact science of the science budget

On May the Fourth, the Science Soapbox team sat down with appropriations expert Kei Koizumi to demystify the federal budget process. Kei served as the former assistant director for federal research and development at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) during the Obama administration. He is now a Visiting Scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In this episode, we wind our way through the appropriations process, the importance of science for America’s health and wealth, and the prospects of R&D in a galaxy far, far away.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

  • In April, President Obama’s Science Advisor John Holdren wrote this op-ed for STAT about why it’s high time the President appoint his own Science Advisor
  • Other science leaders who are urging the President to appoint a Science Advisor include AAAS CEO Rush Holt and the 29 authors of this open letter
  • A few days before we recorded, Congress settled on a budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Check out this nifty recap in Science too see how science fared.
  • Learn how you can be a force for science like Kei by visiting
  • Kei is one of three Visiting Scholars at the AAAS. Find out what they’re up to here.

This episode was recorded on May 4, 2017 in the Rockefeller University Library. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Rodney Nichols: the foundations of science diplomacy — past & present

What’s better than sitting down with one of your mentors to chat and discuss the state of a field? The Science Soapbox team chatted with Rodney Nichols, one of the organizers of the Science Diplomacy class that inspired this podcast. Rod comes from an extensive background in academia and advocacy, having served as Vice President of The Rockefeller University, and President of the New York Academy of Science. We talk about his personal path to science diplomacy, the current state of affairs, and the grassroots efforts emerging throughout academic campuses.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

  • We uploaded the monograph Rod wrote up for the Carnegie Commission of Science, Technology, and Government on the role science and technology can play in United States international affairs, which you can access here
  • Following the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015, Rod wrote a great piece for Foreign Affairs on why science and diplomacy need each other
  • Maryam discussed science diplomacy efforts around volcanology in North Korea, which you can read more about in this piece in WIRED and in this one in NPR
  • We also mentioned that we’ve interviewed Rod’s Science Diplomacy co-instructor Jesse Ausubel, and that we’ll soon be interviewing Dr. Mandë Holford in a live show coming up in June.
    You can reserve a spot for that here!
  • Avital plugged the AAAS’s Science Diplomacy Education Network, which you can learn more about on their official site with programming soon to launch

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017 in the Rockefeller University Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.