Science is getting less Bang for its Buck

Consider the early experiments on what we now call electricity. Many of these experiments seemed strange at the time. In one such experiment, scientists noticed that after rubbing amber on a cat’s fur, the amber would mysteriously attract objects such as feathers, for no apparent reason. In another experiment, a scientist noticed that a frog’s leg would unexpectedly twitch when touched by a metal scalpel.

While understandable, the evidence is that science has slowed enormously per dollar or hour spent. That evidence demands a large-scale institutional response. It should be a major subject in public policy, and at grant agencies and universities. Better understanding the cause of this phenomenon is important, and identifying ways to reverse it is one of the greatest opportunities to improve our future.


November 2018



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