Nancy Ellen Abrams

Biography

Nancy AbramsNancy Ellen Abrams received her B.A. in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Chicago, her J.D. from the University of Michigan, and a diploma in international law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City. She was a Fulbright Scholar and a Woodrow Wilson Designate. She is a writer whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers, and magazines, such as The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Environment, California Lawyer, and Science and Global Security.

She has a long-term interest in the role of science in shaping a new politics and has worked in this area for a European environmental think tank in Rome, the Ford Foundation, and the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, where she co-invented (with R. Stephen Berry of the National Academy of Sciences) a novel procedure called Scientific Mediation. This procedure permits government agencies to make intelligent policy decisions in areas where the relevant science is crucial yet controversial. Scientific Mediation aims not to resolve scientific disputes, which can only be done by scientific research, but to make the essence of the disputed issue transparent to the non-scientists making the actual policy decision. She has consulted on its use for the state governments of California and Wisconsin, private corporations and organizations, and the government of Sweden, where Scientific Mediation has become standard procedure in the Ministry of Industry.

With Joel R. Primack, she co-authored a prize-winning article on quantum cosmology and Kabbalah, as well as numerous articles on science policy, space policy, and the possible cultural implications of modern cosmology.

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