Thursday, October 3, 2013

Scientist? Public Servant? You Lose!

Scientists are public servants. Whether employed by a public institution or a private one, most likely much of a scientist’s research support comes form public funds, and the essence of a scientist’s job is to contribute new knowledge to the public domain. To effectively carry out his/her mission a scientist needs to make a sustained effort over a long period of time. Now comes the sequester, and then the shutdown! Much of the infrastructure for doing science in this country is now in disarray and many careers are at risk.

What kind of a message does this send to young scientists or indeed to any young person who aspires to a career in public service? The message clearly is that you are a pawn that can be manipulated by powerful interests and that your contributions are not valued. In our current bizarre political and economic system the only thing that counts is money!

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