For scientists and scholars toiling at their research and publishing their findings, the most immediate reward from the scientific community is a citation, when fellow researchers read their work and include it among the footnotes of a newly published paper.
The basic premise of social networks -- allowing users to build a custom group of friends and colleagues with whom you can choose to selectively interact -- is its broad appeal. But this premise has, in fact, been around for many decades in science research.
If a cure, and ultimately a prevention, for such disorders as schizophrenia, autism or Alzheimer's can be developed in our lifetime, it will save trillions of dollars in medical and patient-care costs and a lifetime of family heartaches.
Imagine the surprise of students on guest worker visas when, after arriving at UC, they are told that although the contract the union negotiated states that health care coverage is available to all postdocs, it will not be extended to them.
Federal funding for research is neither a gift nor a handout to scientists. Instead, it is an investment that pays dividends many times over to the American taxpayer. Will our elected leaders cut the very programs that provide greatest benefit both now and into the future?
The U.S. has spent the last 70 years making massive investments in basic and applied research. The irony is that while the U.S. government has had a robust national science and technology policy, it lacks a national industrial policy.
Scientists and engineers representing a wide variety of cross-disciplines can debate research findings in online forums, and society will ultimately benefit from the resulting scientific discourse that will open up limitless new avenues for search and discovery.
Increased and predictable funding and incentives for research and development are essential, as is a workforce skilled at filling the resulting jobs. But it's also important that America's approach to research shift from safe and incremental research to the "high-risk, high-reward" research.
Did you ever consider why the thing scientists do is called "research"? Where did the "re" come from? If it derives from "repeat," as some might suggest, then it is no surprise that the answer to that question really defines why science is what it is.
Distortions and sensationalism really only explain how deterministic stories persist -- not why. There must be something satisfying and lucrative about "gene-for" stories. What is so sexy about a gene for IQ?
Research Corporation for Science Advancement pledges to work aggressively to rally our academic colleagues, sister foundations, and other like-minded organizations for a frontal assault on the current stumbling blocks impeding the production of more top-quality science and scientists.
Life as a researcher is no walk in the park, but a passion for science (along with ample amounts of perseverance) can go a long way. We might look like geeks, but it's good to know that the producers of The Big Bang Theory have got our backs!