a reformation of the culture and practice of science


“Faster.” Could any other word better capture the reigning paradox of our age? The world today—whether measured in technological or ecological terms—appears to be changing more rapidly than ever before. Our modern system for generating novelty and prosperity has stretched to encompass the entire planet, growing more complex and expansive, so that now it seems to groan and shudder beneath its own weight. In its service, some things are falling apart: Non-renewable resources are profligately consumed, ecosystems disrupted, and social traditions steadily relinquished. There seems no way to stop or slow these processes without causing immense, cascading catastrophe. The only alternative then is to quicken our pace, to innovate past these growing pains. But where is the center of this innovation, and can it hold? Science is the center, and academia, industry, and government all must work together to strengthen and stabilize it. It was science that brought us here, through careful and systematic investigation—and exploitation—of phenomena in the natural world. And it is the endeavor of science that holds the greatest promise for ensuring the continued and widespread positive growth of our civilization.

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