On Thursday, April 29, Dr. Barbara P. Billauer, IWP Research Professor of Scientific Statecraft, hosted a brown bag lunch and lecture at IWP on "Benjamin Franklin - First Statesman of the United States of America and the Father of Scientific Statecraft."
Dr. Billauer began her lecture by explaining how current government officials often allocate resources in government ineffectively because they do not have the proper scientific background, and do not understand the scientific process. She also pointed out that we can see the impact of political planning concerning science in nations like China and India.
She argued that Benjamin Franklin, who has been called the "first diplomat" by the U.S. State Department, used his scientific background to advance American statecraft. Franklin is known for convincing France to join the United States as an ally in the Revolutionary War, after three diplomats before him failed to do so. At the time, the French held strong prejudices against "degenerate Americans."
Dr. Billauer explained in detail how Franklin's status as a respected scientist with many contacts in the scientific community in France and England allowed him not only to appear in court before both Louis XV and Louis XVI, but ultimately to forge a strategic alliance with France.
She concluded by explaining the role of scientific networking in today's foreign policy arena, particularly in the establishment of Israel, and other foreign policies, including the beginning of diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain.
Dr. Billauer, who is a reviewer for the American Journal of Public Health, has lectured and written on national security issues involving bioterrorism, pandemic planning and epidemic risk analysis, and integrating scientific, legal, and practical concerns.