Stuff happening

May you live in interesting times (!!!)

61 Nobel Laureates endorse Obama

According to a news article on Nature, 61 Nobel prize winners have endorsed Obama and his vision for science – the largest scientific endorsement in any presidential election so far. In 2004, John Kerry got endorsed from 48 Nobel laureates. An excerpt from the article follows:

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As political and financial leaders in the United States struggled on Thursday to contain the meltdown on Wall Street, presidential contender Barack Obama released an 11-page “plan for science and innovation” that outlined aggressive investments in science and technology. The proposal includes a doubling of funding over ten years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Obama supporters range from James Watson, a 1962 Nobel prize winner in physiology or medicine, to two of last year’s winners in physiology or medicine, Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies. In an “open letter to the American people,” they write: “The country urgently needs a visionary leader who can ensure the future of our traditional strengths in science and technology and who can harness those strengths to address many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security, and economic competitiveness. We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader.”

The Obama plan contains more specific details on science policies than had been released previously (see the questions he answered for Nature on related topics here: http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080903/full/455446a.html). For instance, he plans to restore the presidential science advisor to a position that reports directly to the president; details a “fast track” system to permit international students who study at US universities to begin working in the United States without having to return home first; emphasizes research into “smart grids” to improve efficiency in the nation’s electrical distribution system; and talks of strengthening the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s hub for cutting-edge research.

Besides the NIH, agencies that would benefit from funding increases would include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As a senator, John McCain has voted in favour of such increases in the physical sciences, under the rubric of the popular America COMPETES Act.

Some of the Nobelists supporting Obama say they did so because they want change after eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration, during which researchers have complained of manipulation of science for political ends. “We need new and visionary leadership,” says Bob Horvitz, a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Senator Obama will engage top scientists in our nation’s great challenges.”

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September 30, 2008 Posted by | general, news, politics, Science and Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life is a project initiated by Harvard’s E.O.Wilson, who is hailed as today’s Darwin. E.O Wilson had come to give a talk at Michigan State, and he was recollecting his life’s experiences. He told a story about his first few days of undergrad a Harvard. He was one of the select few (6, I think) who were given a very prestigious fellowship in Harvard. All of the 6 scholars had been called and were seated in a room one evening. The professors came to meet them, and they were told that they would be given all the money they wanted for their project. They would not have to worry about anything in their graduate career. In return, they were supposed to do only one thing – “something great”!

The EoL is just a tiny part of the monumental work E.O.Wilson has done over the years. Have a look…

March 14, 2008 Posted by | videos | , , | Leave a comment

Research interests

So true…(esp the 18% part at the right hand bottom corner!)

March 11, 2008 Posted by | humor | , | Leave a comment