Saturday, July 24, 2010

Problems with American Science?

Is the way America manages science going in the wrong direction?

J. Marvin Herdon thinks so and provides what he believes are problems in the scientific system and some solutions. Below is an excerpt from an article by him entitled "J. Marvin Herndon's American Science Decline: the Cause and Cure.

"Science is an important component for the strength of America and for the well being of her people. Science is the mother that gives birth to the technology that makes our economy robust and our military strong. Science improves our health and enables us to see our world in ways never before envisioned, uplifting spirits and boosting national prestige. But for the past four decades, despite ever-increasing science budgets, American science has continued to decline toward third-world status. Why? Because fundamental mistakes underlie the methodology by which the U.S. Government supports science.

Before World War II there was very little government funding of science, but that changed because of war-time necessities. In 1951, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) was established to provide support for post-World War II scientific research. The methodology for administrating science-funding, invented in the early 1950s by NSF, has been adopted essentially unchanged by virtually all subsequent U.S. Government funding agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The problem is this: That methodology is flawed and those flaws have been gradually undermining, corrupting, and trivializing American science for decades. Here I disclose the principal flaws and point the way for the President of the United States to correct them."

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