Question: What politicians are advancing the scientific cause?
Adam Bly: I think there are many leaders who . . . I think the House Committee on Science and Technology right now, which is obviously made up of Democrats and Republicans, is starting to advance in very, very important legislation. I think the kinds of things that emerge from the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report that was produced a little while back, and that’s now being used as the foundation for policy by the committee is really good. I think that Hillary Clinton’s speech a few weeks ago . . . recently is sort of textbook brilliant in terms of a view of where science can go in the world. I think that there are some very simple things that we’re starting to see. I think even Newt Gingrich has started to speak very eloquently about the importance of science in America and the future of America. So it most definitely . . . most definitely is both the Democrat and Republican issue. I think that . . . I think that what we’re starting to see is the recognition that science is not a, you know . . . an issue to sort of block off and isolate as a, you know . . . an issue that has its own lobbyist, and its own causes, and you know logo. It is a root issue. It is . . . It’s not even an issue. It’s progress or not progress. Because you can most certainly look at science and see its consequence on national security. You can look at science and see its consequence on environmental policy. You can look at science and see its impact on education, and obviously math and science education; science, and jobs, and economic competitiveness; science and the perception of the United States in the world. It was missions like going to the moon that gave the world a profoundly positive view of America; of what America stands for. And it’s interesting to note that in the last few years there have been more space launches from non . . . from outside the United States than from within the United States. And it’s, in fact, many other nations now that are advancing, in very interestingly American-like ways, space programs that although today are not pushing technological boundaries necessarily, but they are pushing geopolitical buttons and sort of national pride buttons. And the space program in various parts of the world right now is a sign of progress and “can do” attitudes that are quintessentially American. And we’re dealing with a NASA which, although technologically robust and scientifically important, is aspirationally bankrupt.
Recorded on: 10/17/07