More Science Outreach

Feb 10 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

I was never really a huge public engagement science person. If you'd asked me early on in my graduate career about it I would have said I was perfectly happy sitting in an ivory tower looking at math equations all day. That has changed.

An unexpected (to me) driver of that has been conversations with my favorite non-science folks (ie my extended family). Below is a paraphrased conversation. Keep in mind I've been in science for 10+ years and have had many conversations about it with them.

Fam: so will you need a grant for tenure?

Me: technically not required, but basically yes.

Fam: Well the economy is a bit better now so there must be more money.

Me: Not necessarily. Congress sets the budget for orgs like NIH and NSF. That might not change quickly.

Fam: Congress sets the budget?

Me: Yes.

Fam: oh you are f@%^ed

The funding of science by government (or other orgs) is certainly not obvious to non-scientist. I remember having a "what is an are-oh-1?" conversation as a college student working in a lab. I was Mr. science all the time and I had no idea where the money came from.  Or how the science system worked in general. I suppose it shouldn't' be surprising that others don't know either.

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