Sunday, September 9, 2007

Politics to shut down Science?

The article is titled:

World's largest radio telescope in peril
Budget for Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory hangs in the balance

Below are selected snippets from the article -

Arecibo Observatory, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope on Earth, its instruments have netted a decades-long string of discoveries about the structure and evolution of the universe, and it is the only facility on the planet able to track asteroids with enough precision to tell which ones might plow into Earth - discoveries and science that furthers us, the human race into our future of information, and yet, for want of a few million dollars, the future for Arecibo appears grim.

Cause of death will be politics: The squeeze is part of a larger effort to free up money for new ventures in astronomy -- but many astronomers say that if Arecibo succumbs, the cause of death will be politics, not a lack of good science.

Astronomers from around the country are meeting in Washington this week to highlight the many scientific mysteries that Arecibo is in a unique position to plumb, but the effort may be "too little, too late," said Daniel Altschuler, a professor of physics at the University of Puerto Rico who was Arecibo's director for 12 years.

"I don't see any effective move toward saving Arecibo," said Altschuler, who calls the observatory "a monument to man's curiosity."

The entire article is over at MSNBC

Commentary by Bruce Simmons: I am always amazed how the furtherment of man through science takes a back seat to issues of a now, or urgent nature. I understand the focuses and necessity of such, but sometimes, one just has to over look pet projects and focus on the long term plan for our survival. .. For one example I look to global warming.. the thing that 10, or 20 years ago so many politicians and politically backed scientists said did not exist. That's all I have to say.

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce