Friday, May 1, 2009

Smitten with Obama

The change in the status of science in the new White House is cause for optimism. Obama became only the fourth president to address the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, where he announced the appointees to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). 

Among those are a couple of names that are well known in our circles. The former President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, Barbara Schaal was among the newly announced appointees. Eric Lander's name was previously announced. 

Obama also committed to doubling the budget of the National Science Foundation in his speech (it's quite good and well-worth listening to while you're pipetting). He promised to increase the level of funding for science to 3% of the gross domestic product. This exceeds the amount invested in 1964 at the height of the Kennedy administration.  He also promised that the funds will target high-risk, high-return research and support researchers at the beginning of their careers.

While all signs from the executive branch (happily) point to both steady and substantial increases in attention and funding [1,2,3,4], one has to be deeply concerned with the status of science in the legislative branch


Poletarac said...

Photo Credit: Glor.

Jeremy Brown said...

Also appointed to PCAST was Bill Press. Less well known in evolution circles (a physicist until recently), he's now a member of the Section of Integrative Biology and the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics here at the Univ. of Texas. For you computer geeks, he's also one of the authors of the "Numerical Recipes" books on scientific computing.