Political Climate Change Threatens Scientific Endeavors
Following a summer of record-breaking heat and devastating storms, from tornadoes to hurricanes, students, faculty and staff have all returned to the relatively safe haven of the academic semester. Whereas the summer weather may have represented the reality of climate change, the summer was also replete with the reality of American political climate change – the rise of the right wing of the Tea Party, the Republican elevation of the federal deficit as the defining feature of the U.S. economy, rather than its productive components; the emerging budgetary threats to Social Security, Medicaid, research, and education.
Congressional unwillingness to invest in the U.S. economy and eagerness to cut social support programs does not bode well for millions of people out of work, with the young particularly at risk. The pursuit of a policy that represents disinvestments in the U.S. economy and in our people will soon spill over into erosion of federal support of our institutions of higher learning, research universities in particular.
The emergence of Presidential candidates critical of the teaching of evolution and skeptical of the scientific study of climate is deeply disturbing. Those of us in a position to understand the essential role of knowledge, science, and technology in the development of the economy and society will need to speak more clearly, more loudly, and more effectively.
The Coming Year
There are many issues of both national and local concern that the Faculty Newsletter hopes to address in the coming academic year. Some of the topics discussed by the Editorial Board are listed below. At the same time, we strongly encourage our faculty colleagues to offer us additional suggestions for articles they’d like to see (or write!) in the FNL. Although the print version of the newsletter only circulates to MIT personnel, the web version is visited by many tens of thousands of individuals throughout the nation and the world.
In order to pursue these topics (and others) in the depth they deserve, we will need the continued assistance of you, our faculty colleagues. Please send us your comments and ideas, and don’t be surprised if we contact you for some further assistance.
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George Verghese New FNL Secretary
Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board member and Professor of Electrical Engineering George C. Verghese was elected Secretary of the FNL by acclimation at the Editorial Board meeting held on September 8. Verghese was elected for a two-year term, and in addition to his duties as Secretary he will also chair the Newsletter Nominations Committee, which is responsible for vetting candidates for the FNL Editorial Board.
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Editorial Board Elections to be Held in October
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