Science & Society Program Advisory Council

The Aspen Institute Science & Society Program is guided by an Advisory Council that comprises experts and thought leaders who engage with science in society from myriad angles: academia, industry, education, journalism, public institutions, advocacy, finance, and the arts. Together, this group helps the program

  • Define critical societal issues that cause gaps in public trust in, and/or understanding of, science;
  • Delineate the obstacles toward realizing a more diverse and creative scientific workforce;
  • Brainstorm feasible strategies to address these challenges; and
  • Identify potential strategic and collaborative partners to enact change.

The Advisory Council held its first meeting on April 20, 2020.

Science & Society Program Advisory Council Members

Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D.
Molecular biologist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, UCSF Professor Emerita of Biochemistry and Biophysics, former Salk Institute President

Seema Kumar
CEO of Cure, former Johnson & Johnson Global Head, Office of Innovation, Public Health, and Scientific Engagement

Maya Ajmera
President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of its award-winning magazine Science News

Joy Buolamwini
Poet of code who uses art and research to illuminate social implications of artificial intelligence, Algorithmic Justice League Founder, Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech (youngest)

Valerie Conn
Founder and Principal of Future Science Now, past President and Executive Director of Science Philanthropy Alliance

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D.
Oncologist, former Gates Foundation CEO, former UCSF Chancellor

Lauren Gunderson
Playwright and author who brings stories of science into the spotlight, currently recognized as America’s most produced living playwright

Margaret (Peggy) Hamburg, M.D.
Former American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) President and Chair of the Board, former FDA Commissioner

Ana Luisa Tió Humphrey
Regeneron Science Talent Search Winner, Harvard College astrophysics student

Mae Jemison, M.D.
Engineer, physician, former NASA astronaut, 100 Year Starship (100YSS) project Principal

Robert Klitzman, M.D.
Psychiatrist, bioethicist, Columbia University Professor and Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program

Gary Lauder
Venture capitalist, Lauder Partners LLC Managing Director 

Alan Lightman, Ph.D.
Physicist, writer, author of Einstein’s Dreams, and host of public-television series Searching: Our Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science

Liz Neeley
Marine biologist, Founder & CEO of Liminal, past Story Collider Executive Director

Joe Palca, Ph.D.
Former National Public Radio (NPR) science correspondent, National Association of Science Writers past president

Cynthia Rosenzweig, Ph.D.
Climatologist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Senior Research Scientist and Climate Impacts Group head

Alumni Advisory Council Members

Nsikan Akpan, Ph.D.
(Co-Chair and Member 2020–2021)
New York Public Radio Health and Science

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.
(Member 2020–2023)
Biophysical chemist, author, mountaineer, Green Science Policy Institute Executive Director

Judy Gradwohl
(Member 2020–2023)
San Diego Natural History Museum President and CEO

Eric Horvitz, M.D., Ph.D.
(Member 2020–2023)
Computer scientist, Microsoft Chief Scientific Officer

Valerie Camille Jones, Ed.D.
(Member 2020–2023)
Atlanta mathematics teacher, Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching recipient

Leah Lindsay
(Member 2023)
akeda Science Philanthropy and Community Engagement Lead

David Michaels, Ph.D.
(Member 2020–2023)
Epidemiologist, former OSHA Assistant Secretary, author of The Triumph of Doubt and Doubt Is Their Product

Manu Prakash, Ph.D.
(Member 2020–2023)
Bioengineer, Stanford University Associate Professor, MacArthur Fellow, Foldscope co-inventor