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Biosecur Bioterror. 2009 Dec;7(4):357-64. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2009.1201.

Gerald L. Epstein, PhD: director, center for science, technology, and security policy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Interview by Madeline Drexler.

Abstract

Over his entire career, Gerald Epstein has toiled at the nexus of science, technology, and security. From 2003 to 2009, he was Senior Fellow for Science and Security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Homeland Security Program, where he worked on reducing biological weapons threats, improving national preparedness, and easing potential tensions between the scientific research and national security communities. Epstein came to CSIS from the Institute for Defense Analyses. From 1996 to 2001, he served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. And from 1983 to 1989, and again from 1991 until its demise in 1995, Epstein worked at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he directed a study on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, alongside research on other global security topics. A recognized expert in biological risk reduction, Epstein was actually trained as a physicist, having received SB degrees in physics and electrical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. How, then, did he come to study the evolving threat from bioterrorism? "What compelled me about bioterrorism was that it was a stellar example of a topic that would lead to a train wreck between the scientific community and the security community unless they figured out how to work together," he said. "The distance between a laboratory and a very large consequence event is a lot shorter in biology than in any other field. I got into bioterrorism to help make sure that the security community doesn't get so scared of the science that it shuts it down, and that the science community isn't so oblivious of security concerns that it pays no attention to them." Epstein spoke on November 6, 2009, with contributing writer Madeline Drexler, author of Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections (Penguin, 2009), an updated version of an earlier volume. Drexler holds a visiting appointment at the Harvard School of Public Health and is a senior fellow at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

PMID:
20028243
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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