DENNIS OVERBYE in The New York Times:
To be honest, the restoration of science was the least of it, but when Barack Obama proclaimed during his Inaugural Address that he would “restore science to its rightful place,” you could feel a dark cloud lifting like a sigh from the shoulders of the scientific community in this country. When the new president went on vowing to harness the sun, the wind and the soil, and to “wield technology’s wonders,” I felt the glow of a spring sunrise washing my cheeks, and I could almost imagine I heard the music of swords being hammered into plowshares. Wow. My first reaction was to worry that scientists were now in the awkward position of being expected to save the world. As they say, be careful what you wish for.
My second reaction was to wonder what the “rightful place” of science in our society really is.
The answer, I would argue, is On a Pedestal — but not for the reasons you might think.
Forget about penicillin, digital computers and even the Big Bang, passing fads all of them.