OUR VIEW: USU science funding is a good investment
An Editorial Opinion
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:01
Later this month, Utah colleges and universities will duke it out in the capitol to earn eight-figured amounts of tax dollars for their various educational departments and schools. Utah State will roll out several projects from the past year, highlighted by the wirelessly-powered Aggie Bus, to prove that our humble institution deserves this money more than any other Utah school.
It will be an exciting session of the Utah assembly this year. Really, why would one want their tax dollars spent on anything other than science?
The Aggie Bus is only the most heavily-reported innovation to come out of Utah State in the last few years. USU does so much more, including training the next generation of airline pilots, turning out the best engineers in the country and regularly putting satellites into space. Why shouldn’t it get the coveted funding?
This staff applauds the idea of the state giving money to the research programs most deserving of it. This is what tax money should be used for: research and development with the purpose of making society a better place.
Case in point: the goat spider-silk research being conducted. If researchers at USU can make synthetic spider silk from enzymes in goat milk, it would vastly improve bullet-proof vests for police officers.
Americans like to talk about energy security until they are blue in the face. Unfortunately, oil reserves will not last forever. Why not invest in energy science now so we can be run by fusion in a half-century or so rather than relying solely on burning the pressurized remains of dead animals? This would also solve Cache Valley’s inversion issues.
Digression aside, science funding is serious business. Humanity is on the threshold of amazing new technologies and understanding of the world around us, what with the pending-discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the beginning stages of a warp drive being worked out. The future is here, but it just needs to be pushed along a little bit.
This isn’t to say that we should throw money blindly at just anyone who thinks they could solve the energy crisis in a year. Before research can be funded, physical evidence must be provided to prove that the research is lucrative. This is where Utah State comes in. With our strides already being made into several fields, we can lead the way into the 21st century and, hopefully, beyond.
It all starts at the local level, however. Writing to a an elected representative is the best way to start. Tell them that what society needs is a healthy dose of science.