What are the three most important things the next U.S. president needs to do for science? To cut through the jargon and find an answer, we bring you the DISCOVER Science Policy Project, in which we give a group of the country’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers the chance to state their views. All past responses can be found here.
Appoint a scientist of impeccable independence, inter-disciplinary expertise and vision who knows how to connect with the public as the President’s “Science Advisor.” Elevate the position to cabinet status and insure regular access to the President and to the public. (Is it too much to hope that a society completely dependent on science and high technology might have at least one person who really knows science at the highest decision-making level in the government?)
Add a couple of zeros to budgets for “pure” research. Even a glancing familiarity with the history of science will affirm that the most profound and fruitful discoveries are often an unanticipated result of scientific investigation.
Revolutionize the teaching of science by de-compartmentalizing it. Do away with the forty minutes of boring torture several days a week. Humans learn best through stories. Tell the dramatic tales of courage and integrity that comprise much of the history of science. These stories memorably convey the fundamental scientific insights that are at the heart of our civilization. Invite children in the earliest grades to join the generations of searchers.
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