Posts Tagged ‘Science Policy’

Science Policy and Modern Day Politicians


I have been a scientist for a while now. I have worked at Universities, at Companies both big and small, I have even worked with Universities while at companies. I have also been to National Labs, I have been to R&D firms. I see how the stuff works.

What bothers me is that I have been reading a lot of history books. There is no doubt in my mind that scientists, engineerings, experimentalists, etc are responsible for things like the wheel, things like the laser….All manner of stuff.

Modern day politicians and companies have the folks who fund this research so scared that if a project doesn’t work they’ll be fired that you almost can’t get research funded that is anywhere risky. You almost have to prove it will work before you can get funding to make it work.

How do you make REAL progress doing this. Sure you can make incrimental progress made but real revolutionary process can’t be done.

Imagine if you will a guy with a wacky idea on something that MAY solve a problem such as energy. Well gee, if it isn’t wind, solar, algorithms (all of which are good and necessary) good luck (that list is certainly not all inclusive). But those are band aids. Not a solution.

Some small projects are funded at tiny amounts of $$ but where is the modern day Manhattan type project? That spirit has been beaten out of the majority of scientists settling instead to make tiny steps off the shoulders of the giants that were here in the first 3/4 of the 20th century.

We need to encourage creativity and a bit of risk rather than discourage it. That spirit of invention needs to come back. I know someone will say wow look at all these inventions, all those inventions. Sure there is some interesting stuff out there. But where is the world changing invention such as the science that enabled electronics to be real that has occured in the last 20years. (iPods while interesting are not the type of thing I am talking about).

I for one want to work towards making sure these types of revolutionary changes can once again occur.