Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
National Science Foundation
Presidential Early Career Awards in Science and Engineering (PECASE)
May 4, 2004
Good morning. I am pleased to join you and enjoy in person the promise
embodied in our Presidential Early Career Awardees. All of us at NSF are
proud of you. You are an exemplary group of scholars, who will set the education
and research pace in science, engineering, and mathematics for the U.S.
in the years ahead. Indeed, you represent the very heart of America's future
progress and prosperity.
In a world that is increasingly defined by science and engineering,
there will be a growing need for you to not only be leaders in
your own fields of research and education but to step forward and
lead in the larger arena, envisioning the future and working toward
Discovery, learning and innovation, NSF's vision, are all about
the future. They are powerful forces for progress. To continually
cross boundaries, explore as yet unimagined territory, and find
fresh paths to common aims require daring, boldness, linking and
a taste for adventure. These are risky undertakings, so we must
also find courage, grit, and determination to see us through. In
the words of Martin Luther King, as scientists and engineers, we
need to foster "an audacious faith in the future."
Doing so will require us to strengthen our reliance on mutual
aspirations and to renew our confidence in the capabilities of
human beings to work together toward common goals.
This is because our engagement with science and engineering is
a community enterprise, not a solitary sport. Purported advances
must pass the test of community verification and consensus. In
our quest for reliable, robust knowledge, new ideas continually
jostle with the old and often replace them with fresh perspective.
We need the community to recognize the potential in these emerging
trends and embrace and shape them with vigor. We are obliged to
share data, methods and information. Openness is the archenemy
of ignorance. Banish ignorance, bit by bit, and our path to the
future becomes smoother and brighter.
The best of science and engineering serves society's needs and
aspirations. All of us desire to do something with our lives that
makes a difference. If we cease to believe that our intellectual
pursuits can change the world, something vital and visceral will
be lost to us. The audacity comes with believing that we can actually
contribute through our research and education activities! And,
of course, we can. There is not much joy in discovery and exploration
without the aim of providing a better life for humankind and a
safer, healthier planet.
We are confident that each of you will make many contributions
to the commonweal, and will shape a future that is challenging
and rewarding, a future that provides you every opportunity to
create the life – and the world – you imagine.
As Presidential Early Career Awardees, your country has marked
you for leadership. You have already displayed that capability
in your own universities. This new mantle of honor broadens the
spotlight on your talents.
We at NSF are proud to have sponsored you in this quest. Now each
of you will fit this new leadership role into your lives and careers
in your own unique way with a collective aim for the common good.
Science, engineering, the nation, and the world will be the beneficiaries.
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