TED Conversations

Samantha Massengill

Engineer, Southwest Research Institute

TEDCRED 50+

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How immune should science be from the political environment of its time?

Many scientists have been affected by the political environment of their time. Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics, protested the German treatment of Jewish scientists and professors as he watched his friends become dismissed from their positions. Similarly, Walther Nernst openly voiced criticisms of the Nazis and was forced to end his career as a scientist. More recently, President Obama overturned the Bush administrations' limit on federal tax dollars towards stem cell research. President Obama also supports scientific efforts towards a clean energy economy. If political leaders do not encourage scientific research, proper funding will not be allocated. However, much research has been made possible by involvement due to politics. Do you think there should be a separation between science and politics?

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Closing Statement from Samantha Massengill

Thank you all for joining me in this conversation. It really helped me to solidify my own beliefs towards political involvement in my scientific endeavors. Hopefully others have gained from this experience as well!

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    Feb 2 2012: Major developments in science can only be funded by Countries [deep pockets] so hence Politics and lobbying becomes a key stakeholder in the Research and Development of the future

    Businesses investing in Research and Development of science puts a very high price tag on the future of any product

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