April 25th, 2019 – Science and Public Policy Duo!

Grounds for Science


with Eric Lee and Vetri Velan

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 at 6:30 PM

Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA

Note change in usual date and location!

Cafe Leila specializes in fresh California Cuisine and artisanal tea drinks. BYOB (wine and beer) is welcome with purchase of menu item.

Science’s role in policy, politics, and process

Science and politics have historically operated in separate spheres of society. On the rare occasions that scientists have stepped into the world of policy, they have primarily acted as advocates for science funding, a relatively limited scope in the grand scheme of politics. Eric will explain why having a deeper understanding of policy can benefit scientists and policymakers, and how he has translated that knowledge to help with a bill in the California legislature.

Credit: Vetri Velan


Eric Lee

Eric Lee is a graduate student in the Graduate Program of Infectious Diseases and Immunity at the UC Berkeley. He works in Daniel Portnoy’s lab studying the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, and windsurfs in his free time outside of lab.

Engaging in Public Policy as a Scientist

As scientists, we are often considered to have roles in society that are separate from considerations of government and public policy. Yet this distinction is unneeded; scientists have an active role to play in using their findings to inform policy, and policy can affect scientists’ ability to perform our research. I will discuss my experiences in science policy, focusing on two particular experiences: my advocacy on the so-called “graduate tax” in the 2017 tax bill, and my travel to Washington D.C. in March to advocate for federal research funding.

Credit: Vetri Velan

Vetri Velan

Vetri Velan is a Ph.D. student in the Physics Department at UC Berkeley, where he researches the use of liquid noble elements (primarily xenon and helium) for dark matter detection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *