Watch Science Speed Dating

Written by: The Exchange

Science Speed Dating

This special edition of Science Speed Dating brings together experts from some of the most hotly contested fields of science: climate change, genetically engineered foods, evolution, and vaccines. Filtered through campaigns of misinformation and political rhetoric, the underlying science of these topics is often obscured or misconstrued. But the science is not just another opinion to add to the mix. So how do we tell that story properly? How do we cut through the noise to achieve impact? Our four experts will give us a sense of the public’s current understanding of their field and the way in which they now seek to communicate effectively to create change going forward.


Karen Akerlof is assistant professor at George Mason University’s Department of Environmental Science & Policy. She studies the ways in which communities interpret scientific information and bring experience, values, and local knowledge to bear in making decisions. Most of her research sits at the intersection of governance with science and risk communication.

May Berenbaum is the Swanlund Chair of Entomology at the of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their hostplants and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities.

Margaret Hamburg is an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine, and recently completed a term as foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine. She is former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), immediate Past Chair/President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Health Commissioner for New York City.

Alison Van Eenennaam is an animal geneticist and Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. She researches the use of modern biotechnologies, including cloning, genetic engineering and gene editing, in livestock breeding and agricultural production systems, with a special emphasis on cattle.


Neal Baer is an award-winning showrunner, television writer/producer, physician, author and a public health advocate and expert. He currently serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner of the third season of Designated Survivor, and was previously the Executive Producer of the hit NBC television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and ER.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.