Nice OpEd by Derrick Jackson

In today's Boston Globe, Derrick Jackson echoes what we in the sciences have been worrying about. From his OpEd:

Nobel laureate and Princeton physics professor Joseph Taylor this month said on Capitol Hill that budget cuts will drive future astronomers to other fields or out of science altogether and ''other bright people will decide not to enter." Last week, Granger Morgan, the chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency's science advisory board, said on the hill, ''We all want environmental decision-making to be based on sound science. However, our nation is not investing adequately in producing that sound science."

Mentioning slated cuts for a doctoral fellowship program, Morgan asked, ''Where will the next generation of US environmental scientists come from?"

Just look around your local labs, they'll be coming from societies and cultures that appreciate science.

[MIT President Susan Hockfield] said the national drive for scientific learning she felt as a girl growing up in the shadow of Sputnik now resides in places like China. She said that she felt a hunger for learning and a physical energy in the streets ''that you don't feel here." That is why she said she had a tear in her eye over LeSaffre. A teenager who obligates himself to finding obligate species is a teen bursting with the energy to fuel tomorrow's science.

''It is marvelous to see that kind of passion," Hockfield said. ''We have to fertilize those passions."

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Of course, Granger Morgan could have said what he had to say without the right-wing bull of the catch-phrase "sound science", a loaded term that most scientists know means "ignore the science and evidence if you can come up with just one semi-qualified person who will disagree with it and support your political position".

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 25 Mar 2006 #permalink


As you know, I assume, so just for the record -- "sound science" wasn't designed for the ears and minds of scientist.

The people who designed that phrase don't care about the future of science in the U.S. They care about power.

By SkookumPlanet (not verified) on 25 Mar 2006 #permalink

This hits close to home. My BS is in physics and astronomy, and I wanted to be an astronomer since I was little. The job prospects were a big part of why I am a patent attorney now.

Thanks for the link, Alex! I got a little worked up/inspired by this post and decided to turn my very long comment into an even longer post at my own site. It was off topic anyway! All I have to add here is that after reading that article I hope to never hear the words "sound" and "science" in the same sentence again. Ugh.