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By Michael S. Lubell, APS Director of Public Affairs
Suddenly physics, more precisely the physical sciences, math and engineering—but that's too much of a mouthful, so I'll stick with physics—is back on the agenda of politicians, policy makers, industrial leaders and the media.
It's not the discoveries and the Nobel prizes of the last few years that are creating the buzz, though they haven't hurt. Rather, it's the growing recognition in the circles that count that the nation really does depend on physics discoveries to stimulate the economy, enhance security and improve the health of the populace. And further that the physics enterprise is under significant stress from two decades of federal neglect, growing competition from abroad, and a tangle of education and workforce problems, which, left untreated, will seriously compromise the future of America.
Why the issue is suddenly gaining traction is a story in itself, one that would take too many words to tell in this column. Suffice to say that the threat is real and that physics advocates—many of them readers of "Inside the Beltway," I trust—have been able to break through the political cacophony and journalistic prejudice that usually relegate science and science policy to the back benches and the back pages.
A few examples deserve mention.
The federal government may be swimming in red ink, but apparently some opinion makers don't think it's worth sacrificing our future by shortchanging the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. I agree. If you do too, "Speak out!"
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