The word “pipeline” conjures up images of oil flow and thoughts on gas prices, but there’s another pipeline at least as valuable to our nation: the pipeline for producing future scientists and engineers. Healthy budgets for research and analysis and technology development provide the fuel to sustain America’s well-being through innovation and education, which in turn have a direct positive impact on our economic and societal health.
The latest from Debra Meloy Elmegreen
While the United States is reeling from an uncertain economy and questions about how and when it might improve, one certainty is that an investment in fundamental science research pays big dividends. Federal prioritization for science funding is vital for the health of our country, as emphasized in the prescient forecast and recommendations of the 2005 National Academy of Sciences report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” produced by a panel led by former Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Norm Augustine. The federal support for science is handled by several agencies, in particular NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As we count down to the end of federal funding for fiscal 2011 and look to the future, the astronomical community anxiously awaits word on how its corner of the universe will fare.