Panel Module FINAL

[Applause] [Music] and so right now we're going to talk about the importance of science and
awakening people to what science can do finding facts turning those facts into an understanding of what is true and then using those facts in applied ways to find solutions that can change the world it's one of our most important drivers to the quality and quantity of life and progress in our society and for the first time here today right now on this stage three of our most influential leaders in the world of science will gather to share their experience their insights and thoughts on awakening america to the excitement of science and technology session will be led by dario gill and please welcome to our stage marcia mcnutt president of the national academy of science france cordova president of the science philanthropy alliance dr ellen stofan under secretary of science and research at the smithsonian and again we'll be moderated by dario gill senior vice president and worldwide
director of ibm research as they come on stage here's a little bit of information about each of this morning's panels mcnutt is the 22nd president of the national academy of sciences of the united states she served as editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal science from 2013 to 2016. mcnutt was the 15th director of the united states geological survey prior to that mcnug was president and chief executive officer of the monterey bay aquarium research institute an oceanographic research center in the united states and professor of marine geophysics at stanford university school of earth sciences and professor of marine geophysics at the university of california santa cruz she received her bachelor's degree in physics sumicum laude phi beta kappa from colorado college and a phd in earth sciences from the scripps institution of oceanography france cordova is president of the science philanthropy alliance her list of leadership positions is extraordinary she was the 14th director of the national science foundation cordova was
the first woman to be president of purdue university and prior to that chancellor of the university of california in riverside cordova was the first woman to be nasa's chief scientist she's an internationally recognized astrophysicist with a specialty in multi-wavelength astronomy she has served on many boards including chairing the smithsonian institution's board of regents the mayo clinic and currently the california institute of technology board of trustees cordova received her bachelor of arts degree from stanford university and her phd in physics from the california institute of technology ellen stofan is the undersecretary for science and research at the smithsonian institution she oversees its science research centers as well as the national museum of natural history and the national zoo the smithsonian libraries and archives the office of international relations smithsonian scholarly press and scientific diving program stofan was the john and adrian mars director of the smithsonian's national air and space
museum from 2018 to 2021. she was chief scientist at nasa from 2013 to 2016 and she helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to mars in 1994 stofan became jpl's chief scientist for the new millennium program where she managed a team of 100 scientists working on new technologies ellen stofan earned her bachelor's degree in geology at the college of william mary in williamsburg virginia and her masters and doctoral degrees at brown university both in geological sciences so a round of applause for our panelists this is why it's so humbling to be here to hear what these accomplished people have done uh and uh miss dr stovan i i'm impressed that you went to william and mary that was a school that i applied to my mother wanted me to go there but i decided there was too damn much reading involved so i went to virginia instead
so forgive me for that but love william and mary dario gill will moderate this panel discussion this morning he is senior vice president director of ibm research one of the world's largest and most influential research laboratories more than 3 000 researchers come under his purview he's the 12th director in the 76-year history of that ibm research lab dr gill leads the technology roadmap and technical community at ibm directing innovative strategies in areas including hybrid cloud ai quantum computing exploratory science he's also responsible for ibm's intellectual property strategy and business dario gill the stage is yours take it away thank you anna good morning everyone i'm just so pleased to be with you here today at the imagine solutions conference i look forward to our conversation this morning with an incredible group of leaders from across the science community i believe and i'm sure many of you will
agree that we are a pivotal moment in time a time in which the impact of science and the pace at which we are capable of producing new discoveries has never been greater the mrna vaccine the launch of the james webb telescope crispr the successful flight of a helicopter on mars advances in artificial intelligence the building of an entire new branch of the world of computing with quantum computers that will help us compute and solve things that are currently unsolvable and i could go on and on with examples of scientific achievements and the urgency of science and the need for these great discoveries has never been stronger than it is today because when we look around the reality is we have not run out of problems to solve i believe that if we collectively prioritize and elevate science and technology we can bring about a future that was once only dreamed about
life life expectancy would rise reversing a disturbing trend that began even before kovite 19 arrived diseases such as alzheimer's could become history sustainable farming and crop production would serve people and the environment and cleaner energy production could begin to meet the scale of the need science is our best ally to create this new renaissance and a new era of scientific leadership but despite all the progress made and life saved there are many people who doubt science and doubt the people who have spent decades becoming experts in their fields together with you all here today we have the opportunity to address and build a path forward for how we can and will combat these challenges the long-term health of science and technology in our nation and u.s leadership in the technologies and industries of the future depend on
an expanded investment in research and development and in the development of a new generation of scientists and engineers it's time to be bold in our approach we need to reignite a love and passion of science and create a better understanding of the impact of science and the impact of science for the common good i'm honored to share the stage here today with three leaders and champions of science all of whom are helping drive this agenda forward we have a short time to accomplish a lot here's how we will address the reason why we're here today on this most important subject of awakening america to the excitement of science and technology first we're gonna hear from each of the panelists to give us a short presentation and then we will engage in a you know vigorous and active debate on some of these most pressing topics so marcia flores is yours thank you very much dario and good morning everyone what i'm trying to do today is convince
you that we'll we will create a more promising tomorrow with science however i didn't know henry was going to be such a great warm-up act and hopefully you're already 90 of the way there about my institution which is the national academy of sciences i'm sure most of you don't know about the national academy or what we do the national academy dates back to the darkest days of the civil war it was founded by abraham lincoln right after the battle of hampton roads where two ironclad battleships dueled to a draw because they were bound with iron neither could sink the other with cannonballs when word of this great battle came back to lincoln he said i want the scientists on my side he saw that technology was going to be the key to winning the battle space and so as congress was going into recess he got a bill through signed at midnight to establish the national academy of
sciences it would be a self-perpetuating body we elect our own members were non-governmental but we were established as the advisors to the nation now you already heard from tyler this morning about the remarkable increase in life expectancy i plot here life expectancy increases in various areas of the world the important point about this plot is that everyone is living longer and it's because of science it's because people are not getting sick uh it's because they don't die of childhood diseases it's because they have better nutrition they have better housing and they have jobs that aren't as punishing on their bodies science is the only process we have ever developed that allow some people to get ahead and bring everyone else with them no one is left behind the purpose of the academy is to use science for public good and there are
two key roles that we have in this one is to determine what does the science actually say about something what is the scientific consensus and for that the academy acts as the supreme court for science we are the final arbiters of what the science actually says in the case of doubt we also need to understand how different policy decisions will play out using science so we need a non-partisan science advisor to the nation and that's what the academy does we have never taken political sides and we are used equally by both sides of the aisle here's an example of us as serving for a supreme court for science this was a study we did in 2009 we were asked by the justice department to determine what is the science behind forensic science and what the academy determined was that most of it is junk with the exception of dna evidence there
is no science behind partial fingerprints or blood spatter etc despite what you learn on csi and so uh basically as a result of that thousands of death row uh cases are now under review another example of serving as uh the supreme court for science is dealing with immigration in the u.s i don't have time to talk uh completely about these reports but basically we said the reason why there's so much debate about immigration is that the challenges and the promise of immigration play out differently in time and space the first generation cost the uh gateway communities in order to educate those first generation but then their children and grandchildren pay back that investment many times over but it's on a national basis it doesn't go back to the gateway cities i think many people in these this audience remember a
time where you could smoke on airplanes and they had smoking sections and non-smoking sections so the academy was asked to um determine what would be the impact of banning smoking on airplanes so the academy said public health would improve but people would die and the reason why people would die is it was only the tauren nicotine from the cigarettes that was plugging pinhole gaps that would develop in the passenger cabinet of the fuselage and so basically the if you didn't have the tar nicotine the cabins would depressurize at altitude and so we said yes you should ban smoking but not until the airplane manufacturers improved the design of the passenger cabins so that's exactly what happened we also imagined better solutions and probably one of the greatest hits from the academy was a 1988 report in which we recommended a national effort to sequence the human
genome because of how difficult it was to do at that time it wasn't a moon shot it was a pluto shot and yet it was done and it's turned into a multi-tens of billions of dollar industry today repaying the national investment by orders of magnitude so finally let me end by saying uh this quote from david gray science without policy is still science but policy without science is only gambling thank you very much [Applause] thank you uh friends all yours hello everyone it's really great to be here and to be with my colleagues on the stage so i'm going to talk about philanthropy as a crucial sector in the research ecosystem there are approximately four sectors government university and industry and philanthropy as the four sectors that fund a basic
science research and actually all of r d and i've worked in all four sectors so i know something about how they can all come together and better fund the science enterprise so what is the science philanthropy alliance that's something that i had right now it's a network of 35 funders of foundations and i'll introduce you to them in a minute and they work together on a common mission which is to accelerate scientific discovery through visionary philanthropy the members are champions and advisors to other philanthropists and chair promising practices now i know a lot of you in this room are philanthropists yourselves or have been the beneficiaries of philanthropy in fact there's a lot of medical people in this room and 77 percent of all philanthropy goes to fund the life in biomedical sciences the members also fund my staff which recruit new philanthropists to fund basic science because a lot of
philanthropists don't know how important their impact could be if they turned their resources into funding science so our job is to advise them connect them with other foundations and with scientists who can implement and work on them their donations and to inform them about science trends and to convene meetings and events so what's the history of philanthropy in this country it goes way back to the early 1800s there's a wonderful article written by robert kahn the recent past president of the kavli foundation called why philanthropy is america's unique advantage and it really is a unique advantage in this country we have four different ages of philanthropy starting with the agricultural age going through the industrial age manufacturing age and today the digital information age when there are so many people who have wealth from fintech and i.t and really want to give back and
change the world as we've been hearing already this morning so the science philanthropy alliance formed in 2013 really to counteract the diminution in federal funding for basic research and it's all about what's in the gates buffett pledge building on a wonderful tradition of philanthropy that'll ultimately help the world become a much better place and in fact the gates foundation is a member of our alliance these are the 35 members a couple are anonymous want to be so but there are old foundations more than 100 years old and there are brand new foundations like the chan zuckerberg foundation only six years old and eric schmidt's schmidt futures and sergey brin one of the founders of google his family foundation the alliance invests in early stage research so in that sense it's like venture capitalism but the difference is it's in there for the long term not to make money but to make the
world a better place whenever the investment in research turns into useful applications the catch is that basic research is really intimately connected with its uses with its applications and so really i showed two representations of how that works here a quantum representation in which you have basic research and applied research entangled or co-evolving just like photons are entangled in quantum world and a molecular biology representation of the dna in which exploration and translation into useful benefits have a lot of feedback and are intimately connected the result is that the investment can really keep expanding and yield outside returns this next slide is the one on the top left is new for you just made last week from data that the
national science foundation has and you can see from 1954 to the presence present that the federal funding for research and development especially for basic research which is shown here for universities and research institutes has really declined over that period of time as a fraction of the total r d investment but the investment of philanthropy which is shown by that bright red line there has really climbed up and that's including the higher education philanthropy that comes from your donations to your university from legacy of philanthropy and it's had a huge impact in fact i showed three nobel prize winners recent winners francis arnold in chemistry jennifer doudna in chemistry and andrea guests in physics and all of them have said that philanthropy was absolutely essential to their contributions in fact francis arnold sitting in front of the uh of the
congress of the u.s said if it wasn't for the packard foundation grant that she got and and so did the others yet as very young researchers they would not have been on the way to their monumental research for andrea guess philanthropy funds approximately 80 percent of the research of her galactic center group she's the one who identified a black hole at the center of our galaxy my association alliance does customized services to match philanthropists at every stage of their journey and this has resulted in helping brand new foundations really come into their own to understand how to get a science advisory board how to get a science leader an example would be the chan zuckerberg initiative when mark zuckerberg and his wife priscilla chan wanted to make a real difference in the biomedical sciences and help cure all infectious diseases they turned to the alliance for helping them develop a mission and vision a strategy hire a leader and an
advisory board and there are other examples there including partnerships of foundations that have met each other through the alliance so i'll conclude with what is philanthropy's role in envisioning science for the future it is to build science infrastructure in new ways and there's all sorts of new designs about how to do research institutes better investing in new areas of research that are underfunded embracing a new generation of discoverers being more embracive and inclusive adopting policies and practices to ensure the integrity and trust in science and especially important is to scale efforts through partnerships and by having open science and engaging with an international community thank you thank you thank you for having me here today
you know when people think of the smithsonian they think of things like the ruby slippers the hope diamond neil armstrong spacesuit the real the iconic these one-of-a-kind images but you know for years the smithsonian had a reputation of being america's attic we didn't love that and part of it is that we have 30 million people a year coming through our doors i don't know about you but nobody goes in my attic so if you have what is actually the largest museum complex in the world you might not also realize that we are a thriving scientific research institution now james smithson founded the smithsonian he was a scientific scientist in his own right he published 27 papers the most important one to us today is how to apply the scientific method to brewing a cup of coffee now james smithson left his entire fortune to the united states he'd actually never visited before and the
purpose was for the increase and diffusion of knowledge now the first secretary of the smithsonian james henry actually didn't want to become a museum he wanted to be a scientific research institution but he helped hundreds of expeditions go forward and before we knew it the smithsonian ended up having tens of thousands of specimens so you had to put them somewhere to the point where today we actually have 145 million specimens and objects in our collection now when i got this job as the head of science and research at the smithsonian i had people say to me but i didn't know the smithsonian did research so people don't understand that we are this scientific institution and i think that's really important if we're trying to bridge this gap between people loving to go to museums to see science and technology with combining that with active real research one of the questions we often get on the national people are out on the national
mall and they say where is the smithsonian you're like it's all around you on the image on the left is the environment around a black hole it was taken by dozens of radio telescopes from around the world led by a smithsonian scientist and his team at the center for astrophysics of harvard smithsonian which is in cambridge massachusetts where we've been for 132 years on the other side is mars now obviously no one's been to mars but smithsonian scientists are working there every day active on current and future missions and even driving rovers from the the their offices above the galleries so we are trying to do cutting-edge research to study the mysteries of the universe from understanding why are there black holes at the centers of galaxies to studying the materials that make up planets to looking for life beyond earth all of this trying to understand how you form habitable planets like earth now the smithsonian is also a crown across the
united states where around the world we go wherever the science is from studying bats in kenya trying to understand the the origin of coronaviruses and zoonotic diseases to the american prairie reserve out in montana where we've been reintroducing species to try to recreate biodiverse ecosystems and we're also in panama the smithsonian tropical research center was founded in 1910 we have field stations in the pacific marine pacific on the caribbean and in the tropical rainforest all trying to understand these critical critical ecosystems to the workings of our planet we even have laboratories where we can manipulate the amount of carbon dioxide and the temperature of water to understand how to make corals more resilient to to climate change but i don't want you to think that we're not a museum packed with kids in galleries also full of dinosaurs luckily just bones
really trying to get that first taste of what science is and that wonder of understanding our planet we also run cutting-edge educational programs that allow kids to explore science in a hands-on way including our she can summer camp where girls can learn for the first time that the sky is not the limit this is not an actual rocket launch this is a saturn v rocket that we projected on the washington monument for the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing we had more people over a million people came out on the mall to recreate this moment which we really felt that at the national air and space museum this was so critical to do to give people back that sense of wonder of appreciation the fact that when you use science and engineering you can accomplish incredible things
so the smithsonian is not just a collection of artifacts we are storytellers we are scientists we are not just telling you about history we're actually making history we're trying to help solve the mysteries of the universe we're trying to preserve life on a sustainable planet and most importantly and what i think we'll be talking about today we try to bring the public along with us thank you well thank you how inspiring uh let me begin actually uh with your last comment they are bringing the public to inspire us and connect to something that uh france uh you were pointing out in that graph on the erosion of federal levels of investment into science because to some degree that's a measure of are we succeeding or not in bringing the public with us so let's put some figures on the table so today the r d enterprise of the nation if you
some old sectors we invest about 650 billion dollars annually in the united states across r d yet the federal investment level in r d it peaked during the apollo program it was like about one and a half percent of gdp and today is point seven percent of gdp but you sh you showed philanthropy picking up is this a problem the fact that you know on sort of relative terms we've halved the level of investment as a percentage of gdp over 50 years well i think it's a problem for sure uh there's there's a lot of movement in congress to increase that substantially of course the the real problem is that the investment in science and technology is the long-term investment as many people in this room know who have jobs that you know where the tools that you're using the science that you're employing
uh employing it started a very long time ago and now you're you have these amazing tools that that literally uh save lives all the time and when when you're balancing long-term investments against short-term urgent things the short-term urgent guys always they always win and when we're looking at worldwide conflicts and what we're going to do and and needing to spend immediately billions of dollars to tamp down some emergency here and there then um then those kind of bills get put on the shelf and there have been excellent starts over the last as long as i've been in science and decades in really increasing the federal budget and i think the public would really like to see it because they appreciate what it can do but it's it's just that there are a lot of there's pandemics and wars and there's a lot of urgent things that need to be paid for first yeah and if i could add dario um
it's not just relative to gdp it's what are other countries doing you mentioned that peak that was our sputnik moment we were worried about the russians they had launched the satellite and we had to catch up well now we are at another sputnik moment because china is not slowing down its federal investment in basic research and we are in huge danger of falling behind this country has always excelled in converting basic research to new products that make our lives better and fuel our economy that's all at risk yeah and i would argue we're still living off that age of investment we have been for the last 30 years we've been living off that apollo era investment and when you look at this flat to down level of federal funding what that tends to do i think is drive innovation and creativity out as france said you're you're funding your short-term need and you tend to fund because it's so
competitive you tend to fund what seems a little safe a little more assured and to me it's driving innovation also out yeah and to put a number on what marsha said our country is now number nine among the countries of the world in the ratio of our investment in r d to gross domestic product number nine and we used to be on top so that's it's a lot of other countries are really benefiting they've had their students here and gone back and seen they've seen they've seen our model work exactly and they're applying our model that's right but i mean let me let me give a you know share an example of one of these uh long-term crises that that you build year after year take the area of uh semiconductors of chips right i mean we've seen them on the headlines everywhere we're stopping production of automotives and car manufacturing and um and here's the the reality of the situation we confront if you look at our most advanced technology
what's known as below the 10 nanometer node of technology the united states at present produces zero percent of advanced chips um on aggregate on aggregate levels of semiconductor fabrication in 1990 we produced 37 percent now it's 11 100 of advanced chips in the world get produced in taiwan and south korea for the most advanced chips 100 of the production is in taiwan just look ahead and anticipate whether we are likely to confront a situation at your political situation in taiwan that could alter that just imagine the implications that is going to have to every single one of us every element of the economy and yet to reverse that we need to invest over long periods of time we're not going to be able to solve that next year is going to take a concerted effort for a decade
so we see pieces of legislation going through congress and yet despite that sort of urgent dire they still haven't gotten passed bipartisan in nature but they haven't gotten past so what can you know since we have you know such an esteemed audience what can all of us do to alter that like how do we bring that urgency in science as a top concern in terms of citizen engagement engaging with congress demanding action what would it take i think one thing it takes is leaderships from all groups and this is a group states are a group and i've spoken before about how important state leadership is in realizing this competition and i think we do need to get to congress but it can start with efforts in our own communities and and states and in making a lot of noise about the importance of science and
technology you know last week i saw the governor of colorado go on stage and uh and show off their brand new driver's license which anybody from colorado here which they say is the most secure the most professional it's a hologram with all sorts of stuff in it a driver's license and it was all brought about by technology to make it uh secure and i'm getting governors on stages to say how important science and technology is within their state i think is a really one way one important thing to do and and as a follow-on to that i find it shocking the small fraction of the talent in this country that we actually use yeah um we we have uh strong centers of innovation on both coasts and we're only now slowly starting to build similar centers of innovation in other parts of the country this has to be an all hands on board talent situation where we can't afford to let
any racial group any geographic group any political group get left behind we need everyone to contribute that i think is the most critical point we've got to really tap into the talent of all of our population you know people talk about diversity equity access and inclusion but the point is we actually need those people because we don't know who is the person who's going to invent the next semiconductor chip and are we really getting that talent and it's one of the things we're super passionate about at the smithsonian just this past weekend we exhibited the largest collection of statues of women for the through a project through lydia hill philanthropies called if then because for a lot of girls if you can't see it then you can't be it yeah to be quantitative about the the task ahead on this very front uh if we wanted by 2030 to have the science and technology workforce represent the diversity
of america we would need to double the representation of women in stem for uh hispanics and latinos who need to triple as an example uh for black americans you would need to double so we have a lot of work ahead on on that front so what has what have you seen that works i mean you each have had a long experience and uh seeing different dimensions what are programs that you have seen that we could scale and also what hasn't worked well there's there's a lot of boutique efforts all over that have worked very well in local places but we you use the magic work of word of scaling how do you make those really come alive and one way is through partnerships and connecting and we started a program when i was at national science foundation called includes where we had pilot programs to develop the stem science technology education
or engineering workforce all over the country but then connected them through a backbone organization so the leaders of those efforts could all get together and share their promising practices make connections with each other so um so i think that's one important way and also just in the science world there's now a drive towards open science and making doing our publications and all and marsha's been very involved in that as a editor-in-chief for science magazine making all uh science just more open and readily accessible so that everybody including teachers in the classroom can grab a hold of it not being exclusive domains and i think that open science is also an effort to scale another thing that i've seen really work is back when i was a student and in fact even my daughters when they were in college the typical approach for freshman chemistry or freshman physics
it was weed them out weed them out throw at them the toughest problems you could get make it really theoretical a lot of math a lot of complicated chemical formulas and see who survives now the approach is different get them really interested in solving a problem that makes a difference to themselves their communities and the nation and then they are hungry to learn that science and they will put the effort into excelling because they've been brought in through the problem they want to solve and this is really working in a lot of colleges and universities it really is there's been some universities that have changed their engineering problem you know programs from electrical engineering and aeronautical to engineering for solutions for the developing world and all of a sudden their percentage of women goes from like 20 to over 50 percent um and and the guys come along too but it's it's about problem solving it's changing the approach one of the things we've been really worried about at the smithsonian
is you do is as france and marcia you have all these boutique programs that are great but how do we how do we become the helicopter parents for kids who don't don't have parents like mine who encouraged me to go into science and so are there ways we can use technology that once a kid goes through one program can we point them through the to the next program and the next and the next and the next to help bring them along the pipeline we tend to have a boutique program and then like bye have a nice life and and we need to help them stay in that pipeline yeah can i add because you mentioned how you were brought up you were brought up by supportive parents in science and engineering mine just thought that a woman should go to college to get married which i failed to do in college by the way but i did become a scientist and um and and i was turned on to science by uh public television and i just think science communication and all of all of the folks out there that
really do that well through social media and uh writing and um and television and so on just uh you know three chairs for you because you grab hold you inspire a people like me that came from the background where there was no science and the teachers in my high school the women were not supposed to be in the physics class we had to fight to to be in that class um so it was and i know that's generational and things have really changed but what hasn't changed is that a young person can be exposed through a magazine article or a television show or a book uh to to science and all of a sudden their whole life can change and that's what happened to me i wish things had changed more in that if then or if the the she can camp that we ran at the air and space museum we had 22 girls in the program and three boys these are 11 and 12 years old this was two years ago and the boys in the program said to the girls even though they were whole totally outnumbered
why are you here girls don't fly planes so it continues we have work to do so when i was a student in college i majored in physics but my dad made made me take an accounting course the summer between my um before my senior year because he said that way you'll have something solid to fall back on when all this physics stuff doesn't work out for you we talked about the domestic dimension of you know fermenting participation but science is also a very international endeavor and i'd like to get your perspective about what are we doing well uh in the united states in continuing to attract the best talent from around the world and you know what are the expectations do we see that trend of continuing to attract the same percentage of scientists from around the world as part of the stem workforce is that going to change over the next decade and you know if you had a magic wand what what changes would you make in the relationship of
international collaboration and immigration policy related to stem talent so so what we see in terms of the numbers that the deans put out deans of various schools that are admitting students is that they're still top talent from abroad applying to study here it's not at the levels that it was because of concerns about immigration status there's a lot of talk in the government about making it easier for highly educated technical people to get visas and to get work permits and i think those are moves in the right direction um i and the analogy i always use is that suppose you have a a baseball team and you're only recruiting to your baseball team people from your city if you're the boston red sox you only take take boston students on your team well you're going to lose you're going to lose to all the other teams because
they're recruiting from anywhere they always take the best and that was the advantage of the american system we gathered the best and brightest from everywhere they brought them here and they made us the a-team and if we don't continue to do that someone else will and they are i'll tell you um and we will become the the the farm club yeah but i get a sense from your comment that you think like we're not doing that at the same level is something changing well um again i think it's in comparison to what other people were doing when i was editor-in-chief of science magazine i went to china and the chinese students were the chinese faculty were saying how come we don't get our papers accepted into science magazine i said well i'll tell you of the the labs that are actually doing world-class work are international they have international teams of people they bring in the best students from anywhere i went back to china two years later after they had three covers cover
articles on science magazine and all of those labs had internationalized i also want to put in a plug for capacity building around the world that we do one of my favorite programs at nasa was a partnership with united states agency for international development called severe where we go around the world and help countries learn how to better use earth science data for resilience whether it's too much water too little water agriculture issues because especially because of the challenges of climate change that are going to be playing out over the next 10 to 20 years we need to help make countries around the world more resilient to those effects and it's that investment in capacity building around the world locally i think is critical for national security the numbers as uh dario's on the national science board and you've seen the the recent indicators publication that the the numbers of students from uh foreign countries coming into our country are changing in a negative sense
they are going down because we've had a lot of issues with research security and all the the good thing that i see is that everybody is on top of that the universities university presidents everybody is fighting for the importance of bringing in international students what that does to the classroom to the research lab to research collaborations in general is just so important and universities have been very involved with the department of defense and they've come to some kind of equilibrium recently and i i think the tide will turn back but what what marsha said about giving foreign students green cards the ones in science to stay and all that that has been on the agenda for decades i've been on reports with you know brent skokorov and other national defense advisors you know uh what seemed like a century ago and it hasn't made progress because there's just so much politics
involved and we're having a hard time balancing cooperation and uh and competition in in our minds in our collective national mind and until we can really resolve that and realize how important cooperation is i mean ellen showed that marvelous picture of the black hole that was the image of the black hole was on every newspaper major newspaper in the entire planet and the entire planet and became a meme you know on on tv and we have many the discovery detection of gravitational waves same thing and those were international collaborations absolutely couldn't have been done without lots of countries participating so there's a real value in science and real achievements that are going on but underlying it is this tension about what does it mean to bring foreign students in here what do they do with the intellectual property that they carry with them in their brains when
they go to other countries and those are something that scientists can inform politicians but in the end it's there are political decisions here yeah so let's enter that world for a minute and uh let's discuss it both nationally and the geopolitical dimension so let me ask you all a question on the national piece of it so we have seen over the last few years within the context of the pandemic of course the introduction of even slogans around science right trust the science transfer scientists a recent pew research uh study however has shown that the level of trust and confidence in scientists rather than increasing as a consequence of the incredible success of developing vaccines at record pace has eroded it's lower now in terms of trust of scientists than before the pandemic do you see a risk uh that you know slogans and things like trusted science is politicizing uh with something that should be bipartisan um is it a positive
or a negative what is happening or elevating it at that level so i think any time you go out and say trust me you know that's that's a a non-starter it's it's a total non-starter um i think what's interesting about the data you quoted dario is that trust in everything has went down everything everything went down the military went down the police went down uh you know so so while um scientists there's less trust we actually are still at the top of the heap in terms of what people trust i'd also say that one reason why the pandemic has been so difficult um in this is that the pandemic was science playing out in real time so you know i talked about how um the academy can act as the supreme court for science and say well this is what the science says well this was a novel
virus no one had ever seen it before no one knew what it would do to people no one knew how to treat it uh no one it had to be a novel vaccine and so we're in a situation here where we have to say that science is a messy process and having it play out to the public in real time was was actually quite disconcerting for the public and so i think we have to spend more time on teaching people that science is a self-correcting way of going forward and one thing that really went wrong in the pandemic is very often everything from suggestions to requirements of people for what they should do were being made for non-scientific reasons but were being cast as scientifically defensible when it was really because of supply chain or some other reason why people were being asked to do or not do something yeah and i wish that had played out more publicly
that that people we were hoping that people would trust in the scientific process because eventually we were going to get through this and to me the greatest sadness of this of these people who develop the vaccines one of one of whom is here these people are american heroes and and what happened to to prevent millions and millions of people around the world from dying because of the development of vaccines we should be celebrating this and instead people are confused and they're upset and so it's one of the things that the smithsonian i'm really reflecting on how do we get people to understand the scientific process better because we've been watching it play out and those of us who are scientists are like well yeah but the rest of the public is confused right and to bring this back to science communications we as scientists have the responsibility to say what we know and what we don't know and i think that's a good way to incur trust yeah yeah very well said um so the
geopolitical dimension for a minute you talked about this tension between security and openness that is inherent in science so it seems that without doubt over the next decade and beyond science and technology you know more specifically will be you know one of the central concerns and the you know central axes of of battles geopolitically um perhaps alliances just like we've seen in the past um that were formed on military ends or in trade lands we will see the emergence of technology driven alliances or scientific driven alliances between like-minded countries do you agree or disagree with that that's how things may evolve over the coming decade on you know signs celebrated at the highest realms of geopolitical actors and what are the promises and perils of doing that well there's a really good example that we
already have and that is um if you go to china the leaders in china it's a technocracy yeah it's not a democracy it's not an autocracy it's a technocracy and the leaders in china are all um well most of them anyway the the vast majority of them are actually very science-savvy and they're making decisions with science in mind i saw a good model when i was at the national science foundation of all the research directors of the countries of the world or the the largest 60 countries got together every year to talk about how they do research in their country to share promising practices to look at models like our model for merit review is one that's copied worldwide and we made progress in at every single meeting in adopting principles of how to do better research
that was on a scale of directors of the research institutes and ministers of science so it's not on the very top scale i think when when marsha's talking when the president of china speaks i heard him speak at the world economic forum he's all about science and engineering and technology and innovation we we every when all the leaders of the world are talking about how important it is they're going to ally around that so we still have a ways to go and obviously you see that in the space program um in fact as we look towards going back to the moon and on to mars it's it's a coalition of space agencies from around the world who are working on it so it's not going to look like apollo um where you've got three white americans stepping foot on the moon that first crew back to the moon i think is going to be an international one and i also don't want to give the impression that i think a technocracy is the right thing to do because if it's
not tempered with ethics and humanism uh it can go badly awry and we've already seen examples of that for example in the mass surveillance of the population and um the uh forbidding free speech and things like that so when i shift to the topic of collaboration and partnerships uh we have a you know we're blessed with a broad array of institutions i mean we've talked about uh the government side federal level you brought up the importance at the state level we have a local level we talked about philanthropy venture capital private sector what are examples of things that you have witnessed over the last few decades that have really worked and in bringing different stakeholders together let's begin with that what has worked so one program at the national academy that i think has been one of our most successful is a partnership that we have with hollywood with the film industry
where screenwriters and producers come to the academy and they say we want to do a a movie on this that or the other thing and we want you to help us make the science more accurate in this so this isn't just science fiction so we consulted on films such as the martian the x-men x-files with interstellar uh quite a few and i think that because we were involved there was actually no science in those that wasn't plausible or at least possible okay and i want to bring up the brain initiative which some folks here might be familiar with that started a few years ago that's a real private public partnership that there's a lot of federal government funding when president biden was vice president
he spearheaded that initiative from the white house and a lot of private philanthropies like the cavalier foundation and others were involved the united nations was involved it was a worldwide effort to increase research on the brain and i i think those kind of partnerships focused around some specific thing can bring together uh scientists and heads of state yeah and the example i'd like to talk about is one that i had in one of my slides the american prairie reserve out in montana where the smithsonian is just one of many partners we're working with the nature conservancy we're working with fort belknap which is a native american reservation to really say how do we restore this critical american ecosystem of the prairie how do we bring species back and try to go from a degraded ecosystem to one that's healthy but at the same time actually work with ranchers who live in the area people who need economic benefit from that land can we can we have nature and humans working together and you see public and private
organizations all coming together to make this a reality and it's really exciting yeah and i think what what people need to appreciate is that they don't have to be contractual partnerships sometimes when we think of partnerships we think if everybody's sitting in a table and all signing the same thing but but partnerships can be that that we're all committed to the same thing we get together in meetings and we talk about what we're doing and how we can leverage our assets to make progress but they can be just we can co-align towards certain goals without having to have formal things because it's very hard to you know know from experience to have partnerships with the federal government and uh so that's what there are there are very few uh partnerships where people sign documents but there are loads of partnerships where people are all grouped around a common goal and and share what they're doing yeah i'd like to share an example of uh of one such model and it's one that i was very involved with that it was a
creation of the kovit 19 high performance computing consortium and uh and just to show an example of what is possible there the the original idea was why don't we aggregate the world's best supercomputers and make them available to scientists that want to understand uh what is happening with uh the virus and ways to address a pandemic and so who has supercomputers and the reality is supercomputers are in national laboratories of the united states the national science foundation has supercomputers nasa has supercomputers universities have them private sector has them so um we all coalesce together and what was interesting is we ended up aggregating the biggest consortia uh in history in terms of computing and making it freely available but as uh friends alluded to which was very interesting was there was not a single contract like no one signed any papers it was all like i have these resources
available you have those resources available and then we took advantage of a coordination mechanism that was actually in place in the national science foundation to just review proposals and match proposals but but at the end of the day basically everybody would raise their hands and says hey you can access my system or you can access my system and make that happen so i think that that's a very important point uh that there's like formal structures sometimes that we got to do with like i don't know if you need to build a particle accelerator and many stakeholders need to happen but others are can be very creative so on that note in institutional innovation and we saw the example uh this morning about creativity on institutions what are some examples of new institutions or changes in institutions that you're most excited about to advance science and technology it could be new initiatives in the academies or something you're seeing with like philanthropy yeah yeah well there are philanthropies that are starting their own kind of research institutions they haven't established themselves as foundations but as llcs so that they have more flexibility and they're uh they have research institutions a good example is the flatiron institute in new york city that the simons foundation started and it's just doing amazing research work and these kinds of institutions that they're starting are funded in new ways very flexibly very quickly because they think that one of the drags is how long it takes and uh for the federal government to make decisions and also because of peer review which is has its really good aspects but it also can cut out the yeah very conservative process that can cut out the high risk potentially really high reward ones so they can do that quickly so that's one kind of example are these new research institutes that are forming and then there are these kind of what i call convergence universities that are forming not necessarily in this country but in other countries like in okinawa and japan they
started a graduate institute some time ago but even in this country there are special experiments going on in graduate education that bring together people from all disciplines to work on specific problems and maybe they'll have a home department at some university but their main work is going to be done in a research institution that is um multidisciplinary yeah i was going to mention convergence is what i think is the most important thing happening in academia right now because convergence is the radical uh integration of engineering with social sciences with sciences and bringing them together to solve the big problems because what's happening today is if you take a problem like climate change it's not going to be solved in one discipline alone it's going to take social scientists who understand how people behave given different incentives
it's going to take engineers developing new technologies and it's going to take scientists who find new ways for materials to behave et cetera and these convergence institutes have to break down all of the silos that we already have in universities in order to work and that's why some of the best convergence institutes have been built de novo from the ground up one of the most exciting things i'm seeing right now is obviously in the space sector where a lot of people will constantly ask me isn't nasa like upset about all these small companies and spacex and everything and you're like no this is actually how it's supposed to work you have government investment that that provides technology that allows you to move forward that then can be taken over by the profit the private sector when there's a profit motive and and then it can go wild and explode and you know we've seen that especially in the earth observation area where you know again used to be the domain of governments now you've got private companies and now i don't pick up my phone without seeing you know
maxar and planet images of what's going on in ukraine and so i think it's incredibly powerful when you have government investment in technology and then you can see the downstream profit and applications when the private sector can go wild with it so to close uh i'm gonna pass the floor back to you just for a minute uh and and ask you what will be back to the action oriented what will be your plea to uh to this community as to how how we can advance this agenda that we've been discussing it's so multifaceted there's so much to do what will be your ask you know for me it's become advocates for science and technology and engineering become advocates for making sure that we diversify these fields help become advocates for saying investment in basic scientific research in engineering and technology and math these are the things that move our country forward it's an investment in the future of this country
and building on that having uh become advocates i think the next important step is to connect and uh there are just so many groups and organizations and this is a connection right here that you can leverage but um by connecting and realizing that you have something to contribute you can do some really amazing things i want to just give it a small example at the national science foundation we were confronted with the problem that has confronted women in science and we all mentioned our specific backgrounds and examples and um we were confronted with um just the um the subtle forms of keeping women um and and others underrepresented from becoming scientists and engineers and sometimes there were very overt uh things that would happen harassment in the workplace and sometimes very subtle and we thought gosh we're we're a
federal science agency what can we do about that just like people in this audience might be saying what what can i do about that so we really thought deeply about what our assets were what kind of a foundation we were what was our leverage in our leverage was our grants that we give you know some you know eight and a half billion dollars a year a worth of grants out there and we thought if we changed the terms and conditions of our grants to ensure that the research workplace was an ethical one had integrity and trust in it and they weren't putting down and excluding people uh in all sorts of ways then that is something that we could do so we narrowed our focus we put it into law after advertising getting lots of comments about it and addressing those comments and and i thought it was just an excellent example of doing something in your own domain because all of us have domains that we work in that was very particular but we became a role
model for the other science agencies who then adopted similar practices and i hope will change the uh environment for women in science because it's not only about attracting people into science it's about keeping them in there and not excluding them so i guess my request to everyone here is that we all have control over our minds and how we think and i'd ask everyone here to imagine that you are a scientist and that when you process information you think like a scientist and so when you get something strange coming in uh on facebook or twitter or something the first thing you ask yourself is is there really evidence to back up this claim and where would i go to find data that could prove or disprove it and i because scientists always approach um uh
any new piece of information with skepticism and they make sure that there is um there's evidence to back it up i contrast that with for example thinking like your priest who um you know has a book that tells him what is right and what is wrong or thinking like a prosecutor a prosecutor is trying to argue a side and they filter the evidence for what will support that side scientists don't filter they take in all of the data and they say where is the preponderance of the evidence so if we all did that i think there'd be a lot less misinformation that was um turning us in sometimes very negative directions well thank you what a treat it's been uh to spend an hour with you and i'd like to uh now please join me in thanking or incredible panelists for this conversation

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