Voting nay on Pi Day

A math joke has gone legit. Congress has designated 3/14 Pi Day.

The vote passed overwhelmingly — but over at New Scientist, Ewan Callaway inquires about the 10 representatives who voted against the resolution.

One of the names jumped out at me — Randy Neugebauer (R-TX). A few years ago, Rep. Neugebauer tried to attach an amendment to an appropriations bill circumventing scientific peer review and attacking the NIH-funded research of two psychologists, Sam Gosling and Laura King. Gosling studies how physical environments are shaped by the psychological characteristics of people who live in them. King studies how expressive writing promotes mental health. During debate over the amendment, Neugebauer misrepresented their work in order to ridicule it, for example dismissing Gosling as studying “dorm wall decorations.”

I haven’t been able to find a statement from Neugebauer about why he voted against Pi Day. (His fellow anti-Pi voters haven’t given very compelling reasons.) Given his past record, I have to wonder.

One thought on “Voting nay on Pi Day

  1. […] 3. The political problem is that even if we could solve #1 and #2, we as a society would have to have the stomach for putting up with a lot of research that produces no meaningful results. The scientific community, politicians, and the general public would have to be willing to constantly remind themselves that scientific dead ends are not a “waste” of research dollars — they are the inevitable consequence of taking risks. There would surely be resistance, especially at the political level. […]

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