The United States became the world leader in science and technology because of strong federal funding in scientific research.
The United States became the world leader in science and technology because of strong federal funding in scientific research. When the Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, the US government felt the urgent need to improve science and technology education as a matter of self-defense. In 1958, Congress passed and President Eisenhower signed into law the National Defense Education Act. This Act provided the funding to improve education in science, math, and engineering in public schools and at colleges and universities.
When I was growing up in Iuka, I went to a high school that had received funding from NASA to provide high quality education in science and engineering. I took every advantage of the opportunities given to me to succeed. Because of the exposure I had to the sciences in high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue studies in a related field. When I went to college, I started out as a pre-med student but eventually gravitated towards chemistry. I graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990.
Federal funding was not just an important boost to my education, it is essential for pursuing research. My research focuses on developing improved anti-tumor drugs to treat cancer. I could not do this research without money provided by federal agencies such as the National Institutes for Health. The money pays for things like lab supplies, equipment, and salaries for graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows. The research that we produce helps further the understanding of how cancer drugs work.
Much of the scientific research that comes out of universities is funded by various federal agencies such as NIH, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and more. The result of this federal funding can be seen in cures and treatments for various diseases; understanding environmental phenomena and our impact on the environment, advances in amazing personal technologies, and so much more that affects our lives every day. It is critical that we continue to spend federal dollars on scientific research. Our health, our environment, our technology, our future all depend on it.