Speaking at the National Academy of Sciences 2 days ago, the President reinforced the need for a sustained national commitment to science. His firm stance that “science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health and our environment and our quality of life” is an important step in shifting the national consciousness to build a strong culture of innovation. I particularly appreciated this explanation of why the public sector needs to commit to research:
“Basic scientific research is scientific capital. The fact is, an investigation into a particular physical, chemical or biological process might not pay off for a year or a decade or at all. And when it does, the rewards are often broadly shared, enjoyed by those who bore its costs, but also by those who did not. And that’s why the private sector generally underinvests in basic science, and why the public sector must invest in this kindof research. Because while the risks may be large, so are the rewards for our economy and our society.”
Right on, Mr. President.