new days of science

President Barack Obama pledged Monday to return the United States to a “high water mark” of scientific achievement, announcing a goal to commit three percent of GDP to research and development. [physorg]

“At such a difficult moment, there are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities.

“I fundamentally disagree. Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment and our quality of life than it has ever been.

Citing a plunge in federal funding of physical sciences over the past 25 years, Obama warned that US achievement, particularly science and math study, dramatically lagged in the late 20th century — and threatened to fall even further behind other rapidly advancing nations.

“I believe it is not in our American character to follow, but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again.”

Obama also declared a need to end the politicization of scientific research, a charge he has leveled at the Bush administration.

“We are restoring science to its rightful place.

“Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.”