Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Neal Lane Warns of Science Gaps

Neal Lane, the former Presidential Science Adviser for Bill Clinton, was interviewed recently. In this news article, he expressed his opinion on the current state of science in the US, the damage done to science, and what he expects from the Obama administration. In particular, he echoed what I have been saying on here all along:

Q. Are there other areas of concern within science where the United States is losing ground relative to the rest of the world?

A. There are other examples of where we have started to fall back from a position of leadership because of many years of under-investment in basic research, particularly the physical sciences.

Q. Can you give me an example?

A. High-energy physics. Over 1,000 U.S. physicists are now going with their students to Switzerland to work on the Large Hadron Collider, the high-energy accelerator. That’s partly because Congress killed the Superconducting Super Collider a number of years ago, a terrible mistake in my view. Had that not happened, scientists from all over the world would have been working here, along with the small companies that grow up around these large experiments. If we don’t provide these experimental facilities, eventually people just aren’t going to come here, and we’ll be left in the dust.


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