Gifted educators aren’t enough to stimulate the next generation of American scientists and engineers, according to science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson. Pursuit of manned space programs will inspire budding techies and attract the talent the US will need to lead in the 21st century and beyond, Tyson told reporters in Washington, D.C., Thursday (see above). If the US doesn’t attract that talent, he said, “We will watch as our future fades to nothingness and everyone passes us by.” He also admonished the powers that be about the obstacles to obtaining visas and citizenship that prevent foreign scientists from settling in the US. He noted that both the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb and the rocketry program that created US space dominance were dependent on immigrant scientists. Just as California universities raided the Ivy League for talent in the 1930s and 1940s—creating an impressive and highly capable knowledge culture—the US should be scarfing up the best and brightest scientists worldwide now, he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.