President Obama addressed the National Academies of Science yesterday. If anyone doubted that change has come, and come to science, they need to watch this video. We’ve been waiting a long, long time for a president to take this kind of interest in furthering the cause of science in our country. His budget calls for a doubling of our nation’s investment in basic research in the coming years:
“No one can predict what new applications will be born of basic research: new treatments in our hospitals; new sources of efficient energy; new building materials; new kinds of crops more resistant to heat and drought.”
“It was basic research in the photoelectric effect that would one day lead to solar panels. It was basic research in physics that would eventually produce the CAT scan. The calculations of today’s GPS satellites are based on the equations that Einstein put to paper more than a century ago….”
“We double the budget of key agencies, including the National Science Foundation, a primary source of funding for academic research, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which supports a wide range of pursuits – from improving health information technology to measuring carbon pollution, from testing “smart grid” designs to developing advanced manufacturing processes. And my budget doubles funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science which builds and operates accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, high-energy light sources, and facilities for making nano-materials. Because we know that a nation’s potential for scientific discovery is defined by the tools it makes available to its researchers.”
Words fail me.