Science Receives More Support from the Obama Administration
Tuesday was an especially good day for science in the US.
One positive was the Administration announcing an additional $ 50 million of funding (still far from enough) for research on Alzheimers. Happily, the Administration and far-sighted legislators continue to invest in science instead of caving in to short-sighted budget hawks who fail to appreciate the human and economic value of investing in science. Investing in science should be a no brainer, as proved by the stunning gains in knowledge and jobs achieved from projects such as the race to the moon (Freakonomics quorum on ROI) and investing just under $ 4 billion in the Human Genome Project ($ 796 billion and 310,000 jobs in return for a $3.8 billion investment. )
The President also directly boosted science in general by hosting the administration’s second White House science fair for young students. The serious and not so serious events included the President trying out a marsh mellow cannon (video here) developed by 14 year old Joey Hudy, one of the students. The cannon uses pressurized air to shoot marsh mellows up to 175 feet. On the more serious side, the Science Fair press release details a range of Administration actions supporting science. Key excerpts are below:
"[President Obama will be hosting] the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President will also announce key additional steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to prepare 100,000 effective math and science teachers and to meet the urgent need to train one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade.
“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects."
The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in late 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire boys and girls to excel in math and science. Over the past year, the President met with the three young women who won the Google Science Fair, met a student robotics team on his bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia, and made a surprise appearance at the New York City Science Fair. The second White House Science Fair will include over 100 students from over 45 states, representing over 40 different STEM competitions that recognize the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators. More than 30 student teams will have the opportunity to exhibit their projects this year, almost twice as many as the first White House Science Fair. The President will view exhibits of the student work, ranging from breakthrough research to new inventions, followed by remarks to an audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to the country’s economic future. For a sampling of the exhibits that the President will see, as well as more information on all the students, competitions and organizations being honored, click here."