This image of an experiment a little while ago is a reminder to me that I need to get back into the lab. Too much time spent at my desk writing manuscripts and grants is getting in the way of the fun of science. Science should be like cooking or gardening… you have to get your hands in it. Get the data figuratively under your fingernails as it were. Unfortunately, science funding in this country is in a rather bad spot and there does not seem to be any short term turnaround for it despite a rebounding economy. The political will is just not there and we are increasingly having to deal with political ideologues that not only do not appreciate the role of science in our culture and the advancements it brings to health, but they don’t even realize the benefits of biomedical science to the economy. Even worse, many of our elected officials apparently are remarkably ignorant of even junior high level biology.
The only solution to this is better education, but that is a long term investment. What can you do? Expect more from your elected officials. Demand that they fund science and education at levels that will keep society moving forward and lets keep politics out of science, OK? If politicians making policy that impact science do not have the benefit of a demonstrable background in science, I’d argue that they should be barred from voting, unless they are advised by those with appropriate backgrounds to the proposed legislation.