Adventures in Ethics and Science

There’s a lot going on in our world that might make you want to gnash your teeth. Some of that stuff, which you’ve heard about here before, involves the government trying to exert an influence over science — either in what research gets supported (and who makes that decision) or in how the results of research are reported (or not) — that maybe the government ought not to exert.

Sometimes detailed analyses of these skirmishes are what is called for. Other times, satire is the best delivery method for a stinging condemnation. Cartoonists, the Union of Concerned Scientists is tagging you in.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Michael Halpern (202) 331-5452
Rich Hayes (202) 331-5437

Editorial Cartoon Contest Will Draw Attention to the Misuse and Abuse of Science
Top Cartoonists Will Judge Amateur, Professional Talent in “Science Idol”

WASHINGTON, DC – Teaming up with leading editorial and strip cartoonists, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today announced an editorial cartoon contest to draw attention to political interference in science. Science Idol: the Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest will bring together aspiring cartoonists to compete to win a number of prizes, including an all-expenses paid trip to meet the celebrity judge of their choice. A second contest for professional cartoonists will run concurrently with Science Idol.

Contest judges include New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff; Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth and Christian Science Monitor cartoonist Clay Bennett, both winners of the Pulitzer Prize; and Rhymes with Orange creator Hillary Price.

“The absurdity of political interference in science is fertile ground for satire,” said Dr. Francesca Grifo, Senior Scientist and Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Scientific Integrity Program. “We hope these contests encourage amateur and professional cartoonists alike to express concern — through humor and art — about the impact of the abuse of science on our safety, health and environment.”

The submission deadline for both contests is 11:59 p.m. EST on July 31, 2006.

Science Idol: Amateur artists are invited to submit their work to UCS. Entries can address the abuse of science in general or highlight one or more of the ways in which science has been misused (the muzzling of global warming scientists or the suppression of studies on the harmful effects of mercury on women are two of many possible topics). The celebrity judge panel will work with UCS to narrow the pool to twelve finalists. The public will then choose the Grand Prize winner by voting through the contest website ( The Grand Prize winner will receive a host of prizes, including $500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to have lunch with the celebrity judge of his or her choice.

Scientific Integrity Professional Cartoon Contest:

Professional cartoonists are invited to submit cartoons to UCS that have been or will be published in daily or weekly newspapers or magazines between May 1 and July 31 (or are scheduled to be published by October 1, 2006). Their peers will determine the best cartoon and the winning artist will receive a cash prize.

Entries are due for professionals and nonprofessionals by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 31, 2006.
Finalists for Science Idol will be posted on the contest website on September 5, 2006.

For entry instructions please visit the contest website at

Formed in 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.