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The Top Science Progress Features of 2009

In 2009, we saw a renewed engagement with ethical questions about how we regulate biotechnology, watched the conservative war on science continue on new fronts, and witnessed renewed commitments to grow U.S. prosperity with investments in science and technology.

Timeline: A Brief History of Stem Cell Research
One of our most popular features ever, this interactive timeline marked key moments, beginning the in the 1970s, from the interrelated stories of human embryonic stem cell research and the policy governing that work. The piece collects research featured in the Center for American Progress report, “A Life Sciences Crucible: Stem Cell Research and Innovation Done Responsibly and Ethically.” The Obama administration’s final stem cell policy closely resembled the one recommended in the paper.

Dude, Where’s My War on Science?
By Chris Mooney
Conservatives tried to expose what they claim was a case of science suppression by the Obama administration—and in the process demonstrated how little they know about science in the first place. The attack on EPA’s policy process, Mooney explained, fails peer review.

The George Will Scandal
By Chris Mooney
When The Washington Post ran a column by Will rife with errors on climate science, Mooney asked: If a major media outlet can’t even correct facts about global warming, is it still socially relevant?

What Does This Generation Think it Means to be a “Scientist”?
By Chris Mooney
Many students don’t see a life of academic specialization as the best way to employ their scientific talents. They want to do something more to bring science to the rest of America. Changing definitions could entail a changing relationship between science and society, wrote Mooney.

How the Global Warming Story Changed—Disastrously
By Chris Mooney
Skeptics didn’t need good science to make another attack on climate change research. Their strength has always been in communication tactics anyway, and not scientific exactitude or rigor, wrote Mooney, examining the fallout from the “ClimateGate” scandal. And the U.S. public, never overwhelmingly sure about climate change, has long been susceptible to their smokescreens and misinformation campaigns.

Throwing the Baby Out With the Amniotic Fluid
By Michelle N. Meyer
One important distinction that is not made often or clearly enough by either ethicists or lawyers is that between decisions to procreate and decisions not to procreate. Witness, for instance, the reaction to Nadya OctoMom™ Suleman.

Hold Off On Holdren (Again)
By Chris Mooney
Conservatives found another ludicrous charge to hurl against the president’s science adviser. It was just the latest attempt to distract from actual science policy.

Autonomous Contraception
By Lisa Campo-Engelstein
A recent discovery, wrote Campo-Engelstein, might open the door to an effective male contraceptive drug, a technology that could have been developed decades ago, were it not for social factors that enable women but not men to effectively regulate their fertility outside of sexual activity and without their partner’s participation or knowledge.

Regional Centers of Innovation 101
Regional centers such as Silicon Valley and Boston cultivate technology-based economic development through a dynamic mix of researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and infrastructure. Drawing lessons from their success can help revitalize the U.S. economy. This feature marked the beginning of our ongoing project developing policies that support innovation clusters around the country.

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