The Importance of Science

In 1945 Vannevar Bush wrote a letter to the President of the United States about the importance of science and the role the government should have in promoting it and helping advance it.  You can find the entire letter here.   While some of it is dated, talking about World War II, the basic premise stands.  When I look at the members of our government today that are charged with the advancement of science I all but weep.    We have Men and Women serving in our Capital that our proud of their ignorance and wear it as a badge of honor.   When we as a nation celebrate stupidity and complain that a candidate for office is too smart, where are we headed?  I can tell you that I want the smartest people helping to make the decisions that matter.  I want people that understand the way the world works and are not afraid of science.

Once upon a time it was deemed important to learn everything you could.  To try to gain knowledge.  When did it change?

To end I’ll just put up one quote from the letter that I think is more important than ever in our day and age when higher education seems to be forever out of the grasp of so many.

Higher education in this country is largely for those who have the means. If those who have the means coincided entirely with those persons who have the talent we should not be squandering a part of our higher education on those undeserving of it, nor neglecting great talent among those who fail to attend college for economic reasons. There are talented individuals in every segment of the population, but with few exceptions those without the means of buying higher education go without it. Here is a tremendous waste of the greatest resource of a nation — the intelligence of its citizens.

If ability, and not the circumstance of family fortune, is made to determine who shall receive higher education in science, then we shall be assured of constantly improving quality at every level of scientific activity.

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