Pittsburgh was selected as the pilot site for a unique Science & Engineering Ambassador Program
--with an initial focus on energy--by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
The region was chosen because of its reputation as the center for energy debate over coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind power. Another strength is some of the nation's top scientists, engineers and universities are located here; the region also has a strong network of museums and other cultural outlets.
The program's stated goal is to raise scientific awareness around energy issues. From there it will expand to address technology and medicine in an effort to close the gap between the public's lack of scientific understanding and scientists who are unable or unwilling to share their research with the public.
The project also hopes to make teachers, business leaders and members of the local media comfortable in discussing and explaining energy topics and assessing the validity of others' claims and conclusions.
"Great engineers and scientists worked hard to build our region's energy innovation economy," says Christina Gabriel, president of the region's University Energy Partnership. "The more broadly we can share their inspiration with all of our region's citizens, the more successful we will be in meeting the nation's newest energy transition challenge."
Gabriel is one of several ambassadors appointed to the project. The ambassadors include two CMU and two University of Pittsburgh professors as well as Kathryn Jackson, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Westinghouse Electric Co. Two younger scientists or graduate students will be recruited as well.
Source: Christina Gabriel, NAS and NAE