Friday, April 15, 2005

Pulling the Plug on Science?

Yet another article, this time in the Christian Science Monitor, deploring the decline in US support for basic science.

"For decades, American scientists have unlocked nature's secrets, generated an enormous number of patents, and earned a string of Nobel Prizes. These days, however, pride of accomplishment is mingling with angst as Washington contemplates research cuts on everything from space weather to high-energy physics. he concern? The United States unwittingly may be positioning itself for a long, steady decline in basic research - a key engine for economic growth - at a time when competitors from Europe and Asia are hot on America's heels. Observers point to several examples in the White House budget proposals for fiscal 2006, which begins in October."

"The next few years don't look good for basic science, says Robert Gagosian, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass. 'We can't be No. 1 in everything, but it's important we stay No. 1' in areas vital to America's economy and its ability to monitor the environment, education, and national defense - areas where the US is cutting back. The atmosphere of uncertainty itself takes a toll, adds Tim Killeen, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and president-elect of the American Geophysical Union. 'It doesn't take a lot to start to dismantle scientific capability.... The most creative people are the ones who leave early,' because they are the most highly prized and can find work elsewhere. So after months or years assembling top-notch teams to tackle difficult questions, what remains is a large proportion of second-string talent, he adds. Even a six-month lag in a field like biotechnology can be costly as foreign competitors file patents first, analysts say."

Labels: ,


Post a Comment