Of Note: Selected Quotations from FYI in 2009

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Publication date: 
8 January 2010

Before turning to 2010, a final look back to 2009 with selected quotations from FYI:

"We all know that in business or in science or in education, capital attracts talent. You have to have the labs. And talent attracts capital. And so we want to make very wise investments in this [economic stimulus] recovery package so it is about innovation." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

"The fact that scientists, engineers and educators are sitting side by side with economists to chart the country's path forward highlights the recognition by the Congress that innovation rooted in scientific and technological advances represents the key to sustained, long-term economic growth." - Professor Maria Zuber, Head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT

"Nuclear power will be part of our energy going forward, because it is carbon-free and because it is base load. Now, having said that, we don't have all the answers today as to how to develop that in a way that would make us all happy, particularly about waste." - Energy Secretary Steven Chu

“Overall, we are very, very happy” - Patricia Dehmer, Deputy Director for Science Programs and then Acting Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science regarding funding in the economic stimulus act

“You get an A+.” - Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) to Energy Secretary Chu at a hearing on the proposed FY 2010 DOE budget request

“Ultimately, solar will be the answer.” - Energy Secretary Chu

“My position would be that in matters of public policy, policymakers should bet with the odds. You look at the range of scientific opinion. You look at the center of gravity of that scientific opinion. You look at what the bodies that have accumulated the most expert knowledge and brought it to bear on the question have to say. And while you can never conclude that any particular interpretation in science is final. All science is contingent. It could change with new information, new data, new observations, new analysis. But if you're making policy, it is wise, in my judgment, to go with the opinion of the bulk of the part of the scientific community that has studied that particular question.” - John Holdren at his Senate confirmation hearing when asked how divergent views should be resolved

“We must act now to adapt for the future and stop pouring money into an old Cold War weapons complex that is too big and too expensive.” - National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Thomas D’Agostino

“We very much want to reach the balance point. We don’t want to create a baseline and a commitment to a percentage increase that we can’t sustain.” - House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) on science funding

“I have always supported the sciences; I think its job creation.” -  House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Frank Wolf (R-VA)

“The success of America is contingent on the success of the National Science Foundation" - Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)

“It is important that we avoid the ‘boom and bust’ cycle for science funding that has been seen in the past; one in which science funds rise abruptly and then fall short of needs several years later. This kind of funding pattern has well documented consequences, as evidenced in the physical sciences during the 1970’s and the biomedical sciences most recently.” - Judy Franz, then the Executive Officer of the American Physical Society, testifying before the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee

“I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than three percent of our GDP to research and development.  We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the Space Race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research… promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science.  This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history.” - President Barack Obama at the National Academy of Sciences

“…we’re trying to go ahead and move a bill that will reduce CO2 in the United States to below 83 percent of their baseline at 2005.  If you want an idea of what that’s like in terms of carbon footprint, you might try living in Nigeria today…. If you have a time machine, you might dial your time machine to 1875 and feel what it’s like to live in America back in 1875 . . . It’s no secret that I’m a skeptic.  I don’t believe that mankind is the primary cause of climate change.  I do accept that CO2 levels are rising.  I think it’s a debatable proposition whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” - House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX)

“With this budget, the President makes it absolutely clear that science and engineering research and education are vital to the nation’s future. . . . In FY 2010, NSF is requesting $7.045 billion, an increase of 8.5 percent over FY 2009. That puts NSF on track to double our budget over the next decade and to realize the President’s Plan for Science and Technology.”  -  National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement

“S&T programs are essential to maintaining our technological superiority and we must ensure they aim to confront the enemies we face today and in the future.”  -  Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities

“The place is amazing.” - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the National Ignition Facility

“I think Yucca Mountain as a long-term repository is definitely off the table.” - Energy Secretary Chu

“Either we can invest in building upon our hard earned world technological leadership or we can abandon this commitment, ceding it to others who are working vigilantly to push the frontiers of space.” - Charles F. Bolden at his nomination hearing to be the new NASA Administrator

“A lot of the magic is gone.” - Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) on NASA

“The innovations and solutions that will enable us to overcome many of our greatest challenges from our economic crisis, environmental concerns, dependence on foreign energy, and escalating health care costs all start with basic research investments. Economic experts have concluded that science-driven technology has accounted for more than 50 percent of the growth of the U.S. economy during the last half century.” – Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation Ranking Member Judy Biggert (R-IL)

“These are tight budget times, and I think we worked hard to provide the right balance for priorities on our Energy and Water bill. Many of us would have liked much more, shall we say, money spent on the safety and security of our nuclear weapons stockpile; but quite honestly, that was not to be. We all had to compromise, and this package is a fair, balanced one.” - House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)

“We either have to give NASA the resources that it needs or stop pretending that it can do all we’ve put on its plate.” - House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN)

“We are on a path that will not lead to a useful, safe human exploration program . . . the primary reason is the mismatch between the tasks to be performed and the funds that are available to support those tasks.” - Norman Augustine “We may be going toward the spices in India, but we may run into America.” - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Director Pier Oddone regarding the Large Hadron Collider

“You get to skate, partially because you know stuff that we don’t have a clue what you are doing. And I think that’s neat. I admire your knowledge, I admire your intellect.” - Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment of the House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) at a hearing on DOE’s physics programs

“Science in the U.S. faces an asteroid.” - Norman Augustine warning about a drop in physical sciences funding after the economic stimulus funding is spent

“The President has clearly said that amongst his highest domestic priorities are of course, healthcare, energy and climate but right up there with that top three is STEM education, because STEM education is basically fundamental to the long term economic success of this country, its fundamental to so many of the challenges we have to face including health and energy and climate.” -  PCAST Co-Chair Eric Lander

“With ARPA-E, we are swinging from the heels and trying to hit home runs, not just base hits.”- Energy Secretary Chu

“The aim of the program is to promote awareness of the policy process among young scientists by directly engaging them in the work that goes on in the federal government -- work that is today as exciting as in any time in the past.” - AIP Executive Director and CEO Fred Dylla regarding the new AIP Mather Public Policy Intern Program

“I will not support any future NASA budget request that does not have a robust human exploration program. It must be a program that inspires, yet is also a program grounded in what is possible and not wishful thinking. If we no longer prioritize space exploration, we can be certain that others on this planet will.” - Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL)

“But no matter how much [money] we find by scraping the bottom of the barrel, it is still going to come down to one thing: It is going to be the President’s decision. If we remember, similar to President John Kennedy before him, a President has to decide and has to commit the resources. If this President will do it, it will commit the space program that will keep America a global leader in science and technology.” - Senator Nelson

“In my opinion, the price pushes it way out . . . onto the back burner.” - William Brinkman, Director of the DOE Office of Science, regarding the proposed International Linear Collider, now estimated to cost $20-$25 billion

“I oppose, as you can see, the amendment . . . to eliminate $9 million from the political science program at the National Science Foundation. I don’t like targeting an individual science area. Today it might be political science. Another senator might target biology. Remember how we stifled science under the gag rules and gag guidelines of stem cell research? Also, I don’t like trivializing academic research and academics, that somehow or another there is worthwhile science and then there are others that can be minimized or trivialized.” - Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman  Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

“It is a remarkable thing to go from E=mc2 to boiling water.” - Edmund Synakowski, Associate Director for Fusion Energy Sciences, DOE Office of Science
“The key to meeting these challenges -- to improving our health and well-being, to harnessing clean energy, to protecting our security, and succeeding in the global economy -- will be reaffirming and strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation.  And that leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations and innovators.  And that's why education in math and science is so important.” - President Obama

“The issue of spent nuclear fuel is open. It can be safely stored for decades above ground until we reach a final and conclusive path for its disposal, but that path has yet to be determined.” - Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

“Now that both internal and external independent reviews have confirmed that the Constellation program is being well executed, we know what needs to be done. Let’s get on with it and cease contemplating our collective navels.” -  House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

“There is an elephant; a large elephant sitting in the middle of this room… that elephant is the credibility of the entire scientific community which has told us that the science behind manmade global warming is resolved.  Make no mistake about it, when you read in the emails which have been made public recently that that science was politicized, that its proponents were unwilling to release their data, that they were unwilling to have their theories tested, that they were threatened by anyone and everyone that dared challenge them, when you realize that they were that insecure, then you have to understand that their credibility, the entire credibility of their theory is placed on the line.” - Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ)

“Of course there is more to learn . . . the current state of knowledge about it, even though incomplete as science always is, and even though controversial in some details as science almost always is, is sufficient to make clear that failure to act promptly to reduce global emissions to the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping substances is overwhelmingly likely to lead to changes in climate too extreme and too damaging to be adequately addressed by any adaptation measures that can be foreseen.” - OSTP Director Holdren