M.A. and Ph.D., University of Rochester, Political Science
B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, Physics
Richard Barke's research interests focus on the roles of politics within science, and of science within politics. He teaches courses on American government, regulatory policy, research policy and management, and science and technology policy. With Prof. Gena Abraham (Civil Engineering), he has taught an interdisciplinary seminar on "Bridging Engineering and the Liberal Arts: Designing Progress."
Dr. Barke has written about topics such as how scientists translate scientific findings into policy recommendations, the regulation of scientific research (such as human subjects and nanotechnology), the treatment of risk and uncertainty in policy making, the political behavior of scientific disciplines, the impact of university curricula on the organization and advancement of scientific knowledge, and the politics of science budgeting in Congress. A recent article on "Reconciling Scientists' Beliefs about Radiation Risks and Social Norms: Explaining Preferred Radiation Protection Standards," with Carol Silva and Hank Jenkins-Smith ( Risk Analysis , 2007), used survey data to argue that scientists employ a precautionary principle in interpreting uncertain scientific data, with important implications for science advice to policymakers. In"Balancing Uncertain Risks and Benefits in Human Subjects Research"(forthcoming in Science, Technology, and Human Values, 2009) he found that uncertainty in the characterization of research risks and benefits provides negotiating space that allows experts and laypersons to reach agreements. He also is the author of Science, Technology, and Public Policy (CQ Press) and co-author of Governing the American Republic (St. Martins).
Current and recent projects include a study of how political theory can inform our understanding of how interests and ideas are represented in science policymaking and, with support from the National Science Foundation, how the risks and benefits of emerging nanotechnology are translated across the realms of scientific, popular, and policy discourse (with Lisa Yaszek, Alan Porter, and Jud Ready).
From 1998 to 2005 Dr. Barke served as associate dean in Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. His earlier positions include visiting scholar at the University of Ghent, Belgium; consultant with the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government; and consultant with the Center for Growth Studies, Houston Area Research Center. Dealing with various aspects of science and technology policy, his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Army Environmental Policy Institute, and the US Departments of Energy and Commerce. Dr. Barke has received the Georgia Tech Faculty Advisor of the Year Award and the ANAK Society award for his outstanding service to the Institute and to the student body through teaching, research, advisement, and involvement in campus life. In 2008 he received the Georgia Tech Outstanding Service Award and the Student Government Association's Professor of the Year Award.