Obama's teleprompter commits mutiny during major science speech
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This work begins with a historic commitment to basic science and applied research, from the labs of renowned universities to the proving grounds of innovative companies.Skip to next paragraph
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Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and with the support of Congress, my administration is already providing the largest single boost to investment in basic research in American history. That's already happened.
This is important right now, as public and private colleges and universities across the country reckon with shrinking endowments and tightening budgets. But this is also incredibly important for our future. As Vannevar Bush, who served as scientific advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, famously said: "Basic scientific research is scientific capital."
The fact is an investigation into a particular physical, chemical, or biological process might not pay off for a year, or a decade, or at all. And when it does, the rewards are often broadly shared, enjoyed by those who bore its costs but also by those who did not.
And that's why the private sector generally under-invests in basic science, and why the public sector must invest in this kind of research -- because while the risks may be large, so are the rewards for our economy and our society.
No one can predict what new applications will be born of basic research: new treatments in our hospitals, or new sources of efficient energy; new building materials; new kinds of crops more resistant to heat and to drought.
It was basic research in the photoelectric field -- in the photoelectric effect that would one day lead to solar panels. It was basic research in physics that would eventually produce the CAT scan. The calculations of today's GPS satellites are based on the equations that Einstein put to paper more than a century ago.
In addition to the investments in the Recovery Act, the budget I've proposed -- and versions have now passed both the House and the Senate -- builds on the historic investments in research contained in the recovery plan.
So we double the budget of key agencies, including the National Science Foundation, a primary source of funding for academic research; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which supports a wide range of pursuits from improving health information technology to measuring carbon pollution, from -- from testing "smart grid" designs to developing advanced manufacturing processes.
And my budget doubles funding for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, which builds and operates accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, high-energy light sources, and facilities for making nano-materials -- because we know that a nation's potential for scientific discovery is defined by the tools that it makes available to its researchers.
But the renewed commitment of our nation will not be driven by government investment alone. It's a commitment that extends from the laboratory to the marketplace. And that's why my budget makes the research and experimentation tax credit permanent. This is a tax credit that returns two dollars to the economy for every dollar we spend, by helping companies afford the often high costs of developing new ideas, new technologies, and new products. Yet at times we've allowed it to lapse or only renewed it year to year. I've heard this time and again from entrepreneurs across this country: By making this credit permanent we make it possible for businesses to plan the kinds of projects that create jobs and economic growth.