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He Said That!? Niiice! Now, lets see where the rubber meets the road April 28, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in DOE, NSF, politics.

I’m in Geneva right now, so imagine my surprise reading this when I arrived at CERN this morning:

In a speech on Monday at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, President Obama presented a vision of a new era in research financing comparable to the Sputnik-period space race, in which intensified scientific inquiry, and development of the intellectual capacity to pursue it, are a top national priority.

Doubling the NSF budget, large increases in DOE Office of Science, etc. Very nice. This sort of talk is music to my ears: I firmly believe that the only way to move forward is a combination of short term and long term research. Short term is very easy to argue for: improving the gas engine efficiency by 20%, etc. Long term is much harder to argue for – for example my research isn’t going to help cure cancer or otherwise develop some new product. But both are needed for science and a country to move forward (well, more than the country – the world). And the fact that a president showed up at the National Academy of Sciences. That hasn’t happened in a while!

But… yeah, there is always a but, isn’t there. We’ve heard this tune before. And congress has always removed it. There are definitely strong proponents of this in congress, but it always looses out to other things. So, I’m very happy to see this speech, and it definitely makes me feel much better about the science future in America, but I’m going to be a bit skeptical for a while longer. On the other hand, if there is anything I can do to help make this happen, I’ll be happy to help!! 🙂



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