Where’s the science in this presidential election?
To the Editor:
Whether you hail from Pennsylvania, Washington, Kansas, or anywhere else in the United States, you should care deeply about the presidential candidates’ positions on federal funding for scientific research.
From controlling the impact of the Zika virus to controlling the cost of Medicare; from protecting America from terrorist attacks to protecting Americans’ private data; and from creating new jobs to creating the next Big Thing, scientific research – and the discovery and innovation it fuels – is at the root of our ability to successfully address these issues.
A group of prominent business leaders recently took out national newspaper ads proclaiming that “federal funding of basic scientific research is an investment in our prosperity, security and well-being.” They are right. More than half of U.S. economic growth since World War II can be traced to science-driven technological innovation fueled by federally funded research conducted at universities and national laboratories across the country. But, for our next president, the threats and opportunities are even greater.
Continued strong investments in research are the only way we will find a treatment for Alzheimer’s, which is responsible for one in every five Medicare dollars spent today, or develop the innovations necessary to rapidly respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Social science research and advanced technologies dramatically improve our understanding of threats and protect our citizens from those who want to do us harm. Our climate is changing and science is key to unlocking solutions.
Today, researchers are using genomic medicine and powerful computational and analytical tools to pursue ground-breaking new approaches for treating our most vexing diseases. Big Data and the Internet of Things are similarly opening doors to innovations previously unimaginable. This work is happening at research institutions across the country and right next door, including right here in Pennsylvania where there is an abundance of top-notch higher education and research institutions. These institutions are helping to fuel Pennsylvania’s innovation economy while solving some of society’s most pressing challenges.
The Science Coalition, a group of 60 research universities, recently asked people around the country why science should matter to the presidential candidates. The answers reflect what people care about: protecting their families, having access to good jobs, leaving the world a better place for their children, curing disease, alleviating poverty. Yet, the answers also reflect that Americans intuitively get the connection between scientific research and a better life.
Polling of U.S. voters by Research!America confirms people believe scientific research plays an important role in their lives and that the next president should assign a high priority to research and innovation. Science isn’t a partisan issue. It affects each of us every day regardless of ideology. It will affect our future. It is time for the discussion of who would be the better candidate for science to move from the sidelines to the headlines.
Lawrence, Kansas (former Swarthmore resident)
2016 president of The Science Coalition
2016 vice president of The Science Coalition
To the Editor:
The recent Swarthmorean article on football dynasties of the past century inspires me to send you this ode to one particularly great Swarthmore High School team of my vintage. I was an end on that 1949 team and others through 1951. We hope one day to have the 1949 team recognized as a Team of Excellence in the Delaware County Sports Hall of Fame.
Once upon a long-gone time …
there was the Swarthmore team of 1949.
They played with gusto every high school game
and DelCo football has never been the same.
Twenty-eight games extended their streak
As Swarthmore reached the ultimate peak
The city and county championships they won
A team of excellence, and a job well done.
The players were a very tough bunch
and blocked and tackled like a haymaker punch.
The mastery of the coach was incredibly great
outsmarting opponents top to bottom on the slate.
The players too were far from fools
as they beat opponents from much bigger schools.
Their brains and brawn were best in the state
and that sent opponents to their losing fate.
The school’s and team’s colors, garnet and white,
were raised by its fans to a very great height.
The cheerleaders yelled and screamed out “Go Garnet”
as the team scored TDs and opponents said “darn it.”
To honor the ‘49 Garnets not moot;
let its glories inspire a very loud hoot!
Swarthmore’s fan club salutes its great team
as the 20th century’s cream of the cream.
Fred Campbell, SHS 1951
When you head to the polls, remember…
To the Editor:
In the midst of the chaos of news bits, bites, blitz, etc., that characterize Election 2016, it’s easy to lose sight of the sacrifices many have made to ensure that we, today, have the privilege of the Right to Vote.
Thinking about this renews both respect for this right and a desire to act in accord with it. I’m trusting this thought will be present with voters in the days ahead.
Christine S. Polito