Chris Maase pointed me to the article Scientists Disappointed by Direction of Financing.
Scientists, who were thrilled when President Obama vowed on his first day to "restore science to its proper place," have veered from excitement to dread as the stimulus bill makes its way through Congress.I don't like the direction either, research funding down quite a bit from the original numbers in the stimulus plan. But I still expect science to get a nice boost from the stimulus. Did any of us guess back in December that the stimulus bill would have any science funding at all?
I worry about the "opportunity cost" not only of the ideas not pursued and discoveries not made, but also of the time spent trying to convince very conservative review panels to fund one's research – each minute spent writing or administering grants is a minute that wasn't spent thinking deep thoughts about the frontiers of knowledge.I certainly have had my frustrations with the grant process and a few summers without salary in the past. Nevertheless the competition works well for us and we actually get more risk-taking to stand out from the pack.
Could we stimulate more discovery and creativity if more scientists had the security of their own salary and a long-term commitment to a minimal level of research support? Would this encourage risk-taking and lead to an overall improvement in the quality of science?
Finally a new math puzzle, KenKen (Cleverness Squared), in the Times. So is the generalized n×n game NP-complete?