Notable Science Quotes

The importance of science innovation, publishing and gender, and more

By | December 1, 2016

SCIENCE ADVOCATE IN CHIEF: President Barack Obama chats with entrants Evan Jackson, Alec Jackson, and Caleb Robinson from Flippen Elementary School in McDonough, Georgia, at the 2013 White House Science Fair.WHITE HOUSE/CHUCK KENNEDY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

We must keep funding scientific, technological, and medical research. And above all, we must embrace that quintessentially American compulsion to race for new frontiers and push the boundaries of what’s possible. If we do, I’m hopeful that tomorrow’s Americans will be able to look back at what we did—the diseases we conquered, the social problems we solved, the planet we protected for them—and when they see all that, they’ll plainly see that theirs is the best time to be alive.

—President Barack Obama writing in the November issue of Wired about the importance of science innovation (October 12)


Presidents have power over the direction of scientific research on a very large scale, which is an important factor for voters to consider when making their choices for elected officials.

Susannah Gal, Penn State Harrisburg associate dean for research and outreach, on the impact a newly elected president can have on the direction of the US research enterprise (November 1)


So publishing more papers is like buying more tickets. And that’s why you have a bigger impact during your more productive years.

—Statistical physicist Roberta Sinatra of Central European University in Budapest who coauthored a recently published Science paper that reported an analysis of more than 500,000 studies across multiple fields and suggested that dumb luck plays a big role in citation impact (November 3)


Our present analysis conclusively shows that females do have fewer distinct coauthors over their careers, but that this gap can be accounted for by differences in number of publications. We also find evidence for the hypothesis that female scientists are more open to novel collaborations than their male counterparts, a behavior that was shown to correlate with producing work of greater impact.

X.H.T. Zeng et al., authors of a recently published PLOS Biology paper that analyzed collaboration patterns by considering the publication records of nearly 4,000 faculty members from a variety of scientific disciplines (November 4)


I’m just trying to save people’s lives, and now I’m being thrown into this abortion fight as a proxy. I have nothing to do with abortion, I don’t encourage abortion—I just use tissue that would otherwise be discarded. And now I’m painted as this “baby killer” just for doing research as a medical student.

Eugene Gu, a Vanderbilt University surgical resident who was the first to successfully transplant the (legally obtained) heart and kidney of a human fetus into a rat, on the Congressional investigation of his company, Ganogen (The Huffington Post, November 3)


Ralph Cicerone was a model for all of us of not only doing what counts, but doing it with honesty, integrity, and deep passion.

Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, remembering her predecessor, who died last month at the age of 73 (November 7)

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 237

December 26, 2016

Regarding scientific impact, when it comes to affecting science policy, rather than vociferously advocating for one's own position, most scientists silently wish for "the science to speak for itself".  Based on the evidence in this article, how stupid is that?  Hoping that some science reporter will pick up that one article in a million, and choose to take more than a moment's notice on it?  Then, specifically write about it, and hope over all others have a random editor think just as highly about it?  And then, once printed, have some other random policy person somewhere take any notice whatsoever and then raise it to the level it should?  To then hand it off to some another random person in power who will then need to move it through some overly cumbersome system to hopefully, hopefully allow some worthwhile legislation to be created?  Unless that micropiece of science rocks the Universe, again, how stupid is that?  Science advocacy in this new era of 2017 no longer allows for the science to speak for itself.  Scientists now need to learn how to speak for themselves.  Loudly and strongly...bigly.

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