Rush D. Holt, Ph.D., became the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of the Science family of journals in February 2015. In this role, Holt leads the world's largest multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering membership organization.
Over his career, Dr. Holt has held positions as a teacher, scientist, administrator, and policymaker. Before coming to AAAS, Holt served for 16 years as a member of the U.S. His legislative work earned him numerous accolades, including being named one of Scientific American magazine's "50 National Visionaries Contributing to a Brighter Technological Future" and a "Champion of Science" by the Science Coalition. In 1982, he took leave from Swarthmore to serve as an AAAS/American Physical Society Science and Technology Policy Fellow on Capitol Hill. He has received awards from the American Chemical Society, the American Association of University Professors, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, the American Geophysical Union, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Holt is a past recipient of two of AAAS' highest honors: the William D. Carey Lectureship Award (2005) and the Philip Hauge Abelson Award (2010).
All of us, regardless of where in the world we live, benefit from the exploration of our world. Science is the best way to learn how things actually work—from the stars and the earth to biological systems and human behavior. Science is special. It has been demonstrated over the centuries to be the means for acquiring public knowledge that is the most reliable, most resilient, and most applicable to public problems. At the same time, science should not be misconstrued as either a value or as just a collection of "facts." Rather, it is the scientific process—transparent, tentative, self-correcting, and always imbued with some uncertainty—that holds a unique power for good in the world. The scientific process is so powerful, it also comes with ethical obligations to do it right. The practices, communication, and application of science must be conducted with integrity and human compassion. Inadequate or improper science literacy can have dire consequences. The American Association for the Advancement of Science—a non-governmental organization, scientific society, and publisher of the Science family of journals—works together with the organizations well represented in Beijing at the Global Science Literacy Conference to stand up for science and promote its use by everyone, for everyone, everywhere.