Don't Blame It on Sputnik

Since Sputnik, hardly a year goes by without the federal government, some nonprofit foundation, or a large corporation launching schemes to entice people into research careers. These initiatives, meant to improve the quality of our science and bring about technological, medical, and other advances, offer educational opportunities and financial incentives. Sensible as these programs often are, they do not consider some of the most important motives that draw people to science and the personal

Walter Brown
Apr 20, 2003

Since Sputnik, hardly a year goes by without the federal government, some nonprofit foundation, or a large corporation launching schemes to entice people into research careers. These initiatives, meant to improve the quality of our science and bring about technological, medical, and other advances, offer educational opportunities and financial incentives. Sensible as these programs often are, they do not consider some of the most important motives that draw people to science and the personal qualities that determine scientific success. Not surprisingly, the impact of these initiatives, and the scores of university-sponsored programs intended to lure students, is unclear.

Regardless, we shouldn't limit these initiatives to just the sciences. Similar principles could be applied to improve other features of the landscape, scientific or otherwise. Like music.

I envisage the following:

It started last winter when US Rep. Thaddeus "Ted" P. Barrel (R-Neb.) and his Aunt Mildred attended an Omaha Symphony concert...

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