The New York Times, which has the kind of web tools that some of us can only dream about, published a couple of days ago an interactive feature called “”http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/15/us/politics/20090115_HOPE.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink">I hope so, too". The newspaper asked 200 people to state their greatest hopes for what Barack Obama might accomplish during his presidency, and then invited readers to choose the hopes they agree with.
I was surprised to see that science was nowhere to be found among the 29 “hopes” catalogued by the Times. The closest it got was “Education” and “Environment”. Is it the case that science is so far below the radar of the average person on the street to not be mentioned by 200 random people sufficiently enough to become category # 30? Fortunately, the Times also invited readers to comment in case their hope was not represented, and a fair number of people who took the time to add their two cents called for increased respect for and support of science.
Although the indications so far are that Obama will take science and technology seriously, it’s a bit disappointing that science didn’t rank particularly high in people’s priorities. Having said that, and considering the tough times that the US and the whole world are going through, many people could be excused for having other things in their minds, asthere was no shortage of things to hope for. That’s the only bonanza we can expect to see in the immediate future.