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SPIE Professional April 2009

Science Investment: New Focus in U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) hosted a round-table conference in December in which political, academic, and business leaders discussed the urgent need to increase America’s investment in physical science research.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summarized the discussion by noting that the way to move our nation forward was ‘through science, science, science, and science,’” said Robert Saunders, this year’s Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow, who helped Holt plan the event.

Saunders has been working in Holt’s office as part of the fellowship program sponsored by SPIE and the Optical Society of America that enhances the optic community’s ability to effectively communicate with Congress about science policy issues.

“I was pleased to see first-hand that our nation’s leaders are interested in scientific investment and look forward to seeing this translated into action,” Saunders added.

Holt and SPIE Fellow James Harrington discuss support for science, technology, and engineering at the 2008 Congressional Visits Day.

Holt, one of only about a dozen scientists and engineers in the U.S. Congress, has a PhD from New York University and is a former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

SPIE Leaders in D.C.

Holt is a strong supporter of federal funding for science, engineering and technology research. He will be one of several legislators who will meet with members of scientific societies—including SPIE—at the annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day 28-29 April in Washington, DC.

The annual event brings together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to explain first-hand to senators and Congressional representatives how policy influences development priorities, talent development, and investment choices.

Congressional Visits Day also provides SPIE members an opportunity to generate support for the policies that will drive the future growth and long-term success of optics and photonics.

Join with SPIE for the annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day 28-29 April and remind influential U.S. legislators how optics and photonics research makes the world safer, healthier, cleaner and smarter. Changes to U.S. government policies require active involvement, so plan on two fast-paced days, one for training and one for meetings with elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200904.09

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