Is Throwing Money At Science Throwing Money Away?

John Carey's article accurately portrays the dismal depths of dependency to which our national scientific community has descended ("Throwing money at science just creates a monster," Commentary, June 19). However, the issue is larger than federal largesse. We have also created an expanding class of scientists--not unlike our welfare poor--dependent upon growing government money. We must get these scientists and engineers off the federal dole and into the for-profit economy.

Martin J. Cooper

Irvine, Calif.

John Carey suggests that we could make drastic cuts in federal science and technology, from laboratories to graduate education, with no ill effect. This neglects the immense contribution that taxpayer supported R&D makes to the economy of this nation. Millions of Americans live and work better because of federal science and technology.

If we dissolve teams of scientists and engineers, discourage young people from pursuing scientific and technical careers, and dismantle world-class facilities, we will surrender our national advantage in science and technology. In the process, we will fall behind in the global market and lose much growth and many jobs. Science and technology are the fundamental drivers of economic growth. While we need to change and renew, we cannot afford to destroy.

Mary L. Good

Under Secretary for Technology

Commerce Dept.


In my field of brain and spinal-cord injury research, these cuts mean that we will not be able to develop effective therapies within our lifetime for the millions of disabled Americans who consume many billions of dollars for health care, disability, and welfare. We are throwing away our world dominance in science and technology, which is worth many trillions of dollars, to save a few billion dollars.

Dr. Wise Young

Professor of Neurosurgery,

Physiology & Biophysics

New York University

Medical Center

New York

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