Searching for day-to-day guidance, he named Vannevar Bush, an engineer with a joint Ph.D from MIT and Harvard, as the director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.
Bush became a quiet hero in the war effort, serving essentially as the first national science adviser to a president, providing critical oversight of the Manhattan Project—the WWII research effort that produced the atomic bomb– and eventually helping to create the National Science Foundation
Science: The Endless Frontier, to President Roosevelt. It argued that if the United States wanted to remain a world superpower and keep the peace, it was essential that it remain at the cutting edge of scientific and technological research.
He wrote to President Roosevelt, “Science can be effective in the national welfare only as a member of a team, whether the conditions be peace or war. But without scientific progress no amount of achievement in other directions can insure our health, prosperity, and security as a nation in the modern world.”
In nearly every presidential administration since, it has been axiomatic that the country must believe in science and invest generously and wisely in science and technology.
When all the fireworks are over in Donald Trump’s presidency, historians may look back and conclude that even more important than the Mueller Report and the American retreat from global leadership was Washington’s disregard of this history and its consequential neglect of the threat to our planet.
Consider some of the main examples of this neglect:
released a report stating that almost one million species —one-eighth of the Earth’s total– are at risk of extinction. According to 145 authors in 50 countries, if the world doesn’t act, 40% of amphibians, 33% of corals, and 10% of insects might die. Any viewer of David Attenborough’s “Our Planet” is likely already aware of this devastation. Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, however, apparently has not watched or wasn’t moved by what it saw, as it
approved offshore drilling in the Arctic before a federal judge fortunately
ruled the drilling illegal. The Trump administration’s plan is
currently on hold, but if his team has its way, it would make
more than 90% of federal water available for offshore oil and gas leasing.
climate change catastrophe.” Despite near total consensus from the scientific community, the administration has already signaled such threats are not a priority right now, by, for example, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords in 2017.
not to join.
claimed dozens of lives and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages last year. President Trump declined to connect the blazes to climate change. His solution?
Better raking and cleaning. How that fixes a massive drought is beyond us.
estimated that some 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, and yet, the support given to the island both in finances and in words in the wake of Hurricane Maria has been minimal. Despite the damage there, just last week, a $13.6 billion disaster relief bill that would help Americans hit by disasters across the country
stalled in Congress because the
president wants to limit additional aid to Puerto Rico.
may intensify climate change and will cause increased flooding across much of the US coastline, is a good thing for the United States? Really?
took months to tell people to “get their shots.”