Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama goes to the National Academy of Sciences

... gives a rousing speech, presents a grand vision for American science and technology, and announces bold new programs -- including ARPA-E, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy.

You can find summaries in Inside HigherEd and NYTimes. Here's an excerpt from the speech itself:

I believe it is not in our character, the American character, to follow. It's our character to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. So I'm here today to set this goal: We will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development. We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science. (Applause.)

This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history.

Just think what this will allow us to accomplish: solar cells as cheap as paint; green buildings that produce all the energy they consume; learning software as effective as a personal tutor; prosthetics so advanced that you could play the piano again; an expansion of the frontiers of human knowledge about ourselves and world the around us. We can do this.

The pursuit of discovery half a century ago fueled our prosperity and our success as a nation in the half century that followed. The commitment I am making today will fuel our success for another 50 years. That's how we will ensure that our children and their children will look back on this generation's work as that which defined the progress and delivered the prosperity of the 21st century.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Here is the video broadcast of the speech

  2. Raj said...

    As an aside, I wonder why 'rousing speeches' always have to invoke the past as in "four score and twenty years ago, our forefathers.." or talk about the future children and children's children. Neat way of deflecting thoughts from the present or the near future.