Posted 1/07/12 on The Doctor Weighs In
I have attended more scientific and medical conferences than I care to remember. One thing that never failed to impress me was the large number of foreign-born young scientists attracted to our country and our great universities. Many of those scientists arrived as students from countries that smothered independent thoughts and initiatives, and chose to stay in the country where freedom reigned and the possibilities were unlimited. But then 9/11 happened, and our country was seized with a dark mood of suspicion and outright xenophobia. Young students and scientists could not join our scientific enterprise, to our great detriment. What we lost was the great intellectual cross-fertilization that animated our progress. The rise of xenophobic obsessions, coupled with hostility toward Science by the Bush administration wrought incalculabe long-term harm to American science. Yes, we are still garnering a lot of Nobel Prizes, but don’t let it deceive you -those brilliant scientists are awarded their respective prizes for work done over decades, during the golden age of American science.