With respect to the "contract" Earl Dowell proposes (The Scientist, Feb. 20, 1995, page 12), the fundamental problem is not public willingness to invest in scientists and engineers, but the public willingness to invest more generally in an educated society. Funding for higher education in Washington is constantly getting cut back. Funding for high schools is inadequate and getting worse. The public that pays for it doesn't see the value of a well-educated society. A particularly frightening trend is the involvement of business in education. This has the potential to turn us into poorly educated automatons, great at satisfying some narrow business interest, but terrible at inventing and adapting.
The World Wide Web on which I found The Scientist is one means those in research can keep connected with the rest of us, and perhaps kindle interest in what they are doing. Witness the other interesting item I found tonight,...
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