Guest Opinion by President Barack Obama
Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create 21st Century jobs—today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation.
It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.
Right now, in labs, classrooms and companies across America, our leading minds are hard at work chasing the next big idea, on the cusp of breakthroughs that could revolutionize our lives.
But history tells us that they can’t do it alone. From landing on the moon, to sequencing the human genome, to inventing the Internet, America has been the first to cross that new frontier because we had leaders who paved the way: leaders like President Kennedy, who inspired us to push the boundaries of the known world and achieve the impossible; leaders who not only invested in our scientists, but who respected the integrity of the scientific process.
Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.
It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient.
Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us.
That will be my goal as President of the United States—and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.
Working with these leaders, we will seek to draw on the power of science to both meet our challenges across the globe and revitalize our economy here at home.
I am confident that if we recommit ourselves to discovery; if we support science education to create the next generation of scientists and engineers right here in America; if we have the vision to believe and invest in things unseen, then we can lead the world into a new future of peace and prosperity.
Barack Obama is president of the United States. This column is condensed from his radio address to the nation Dec. 20, 2008, The search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us.