Dr. Holden Thorp Spoke with Students about Being Editor-in-Chief of Science

By Elise L. ’26 and Emma L. ’24 

On February 8, Dr. Holden Thorp came to Foxcroft to explain his career and answer our eager scientific questions. Dr. Thorp is on the faculty at George Washington University and the editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals. Dr. Thorp explained that he gives final approval for all articles published in the Science journal. Before articles are presented to him, they go through several peer reviewers. Around 12,000 articles are sent to Science, but only 700 reach Dr. Thorp and are published in the journal.
After Dr. Thorp's discourse, students posed questions. Among the many interesting questions they asked,  Sarah F. ’24 asked Dr. Thorp what happens when there is new scientific information that changes how something was believed to have worked. Dr. Thorp recalled a time during 2020 when Dr. Fauci went on national television telling everyone that COVID-19 was a contact-spread virus. A week later, new discoveries proved that the virus was airborne, and people would need to wear a mask to help prevent infection. Dr. Fauci went back on national television with an update to what he had stated barely two weeks prior, which led to backlash from citizens who had believed him, calling him a liar and inventing conspiracy theories. Dr. Thorp highlighted the risks of the job, as a scientist may end up publicly ridiculed or canceled, but not to take it to heart as a scientist’s work is what shapes our world today.

"Science is a process, not a bunch of stuff that you have to memorize or calculate," Dr. Thorp said. "And whenever we say 'here's what scientists just discovered,' it's only what we know right now. We're going to do more experiments that are going to make us understand things even better."

It was so fascinating to hear about Dr. Thorp’s experience in science during the pandemic, as well as for the future of science and artificial intelligence (AI). His discussion intrigued students and might have shaped their future career paths. 
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.