Stay Home: Learn about the Science of the Presidency in Adafruit’s “Political Science”

In this series of Stay Home posts, we’re re-publishing and highlighting some of the Adafruit blog’s original editorial content. With so many of us working remotely or otherwise staying home, our hope is that you might find something interesting on here to entertain you through what can feel like some pretty long days. We hope also to inspire you to try and use this time creatively if you can (earlier in the week we shared a Best-Of the MusicMakers Q&A series where musicians like Frankie Cosmos and Jeffrey Lewis talk creative spaces and embracing technology).

Today we’re looking back at the brief series of Political Science features that we ran back in 2017. These three posts dug into the lives and careers of three US Presidents and how they used and interacted with the sciences. Now more than ever, the value and importance of science to government, reform and essential legislation can’t be overstated.

Political Science #1 – Jimmy Carter: Faith & Physics  (Read)

In Political Science #1, we looked at the life and presidency of Jimmy Carter. This included his engineering education, assignment to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission as a Lieutenant in the Navy, the Cold War and SALT II, space exploration, the National Energy Act, solar panels on the White House, The Carter Center’s efforts to eradicate preventable disease, reporting a UFO sighting and beyond. Read more

“It seems obvious to me, in its totality, the bible represented God’s spiritual message, but that the ancient authors of Holy Scriptures were not experts on geology, biology or cosmology, and were not blessed with the use of electron microscopes, carbon-dating techniques, or the Hubble telescope. I’ve never been bothered by verses in the Bible stating that the earth is flat or has four corners, that the stars can fall on the earth like figs from a tree, or that the world was created in six calendar days as we know them…There is no place for religion in the science classroom.”Jimmy Carter

Political Science #2 – James Garfield: Triumph Through Tragedy (Read)

In Political Science #2, we examined the short life and brief Presidency of James Garfield and some of the effects that his illness and death can be argued to have had on medical innovations and standards in the United States. The shooting of James Garfield can be tied into the history of the metal detector (courtesy of Alexander Graham Bell), air conditioning, criminal insanity and the acceptance of antiseptics in American medicine.  Read more.

“The scientific spirit has cast out the demons, and presented us with nature clothed in her right mind and living under the reign of law. It has given us, for the sorceries of the alchemist, the beautiful laws of chemistry; for the dreams of the astrologer, the sublime truths of astronomy; for the wild visions of cosmogony, the monumental records of geology; for the anarchy of diabolism, the laws of God.” – James A. Garfield

Political Science #3 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The First Modern President (Read)

In Political Science #3, we looked into the one-of-a-kind life and career of FDR who served through two world wars, the great depression and the dust bowl. Occupying the offices of State Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Governor of New York in addition to an unprecedented twelve years in highest office, Roosevelt had many opportunities to to experiment and innovate with the technologies of communication, conservation, destruction and his own mobility. Read more.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I hope you’ll find some entertainment in these articles. Perhaps you can use this time to add something to the discussion of the value of Science in Government. These posts are far from exhaustive and I’m no historian (I’m not even an American!) and there’s many figures worth assessing for how they’ve approached the sciences and the good and bad that they have left behind. If you can, take some time to dig into our history and connect it with our shared present and future.

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