Tuesday, April 28, 2009

President Obama addressed the National Academy of Sciences

As President Obama announced substantial, permanent increases in funding for science and a renewed commitment to science education, he reminded us of the connections between science and our form of government--referring to "this experiment we call America." Here are some highlights:
    • Our progress as a nation –- and our values as a nation –- are rooted in free and open inquiry. To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy. It is contrary to our way of life. (Applause.)
    • We also need to engage the scientific community directly in the work of public policy. And that's why, today, I am announcing the appointment -- we are filling out the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, known as PCAST, and I intend to work with them closely. [...] I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation.
    • There are, right now, chemists who could teach chemistry, physicists who could teach physics, statisticians who could teach mathematics. But we need to create a way to bring the expertise and the enthusiasm of these folks –- folks like you –- into the classroom.
    • In the next decade –- by 2020 –- America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal that we are going to set.
    • I think all of you understand it will take far more than the work of government. It will take all of us. It will take all of you. And so today I want to challenge you to use your love and knowledge of science to spark the same sense of wonder and excitement in a new generation.
    • I want you to know that I'm going to be working alongside you. I'm going to participate in a public awareness and outreach campaign to encourage students to consider careers in science and mathematics and engineering -- because our future depends on it.
    • At root, science forces us to reckon with the truth as best as we can ascertain it.
    • And some truths fill us with awe. Others force us to question long-held views. Science can't answer every question, and indeed, it seems at times the more we plumb the mysteries of the physical world, the more humble we must be.
    • Science cannot supplant our ethics or our values, our principles or our faith. But science can inform those things and help put those values -- these moral sentiments, that faith -- can put those things to work -- to feed a child, or to heal the sick, to be good stewards of this Earth.

Posted from Diigo.

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