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Photo of Joseph Bordogna

Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Deputy Director
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 it.

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. Congratulations.

Return to a list of Dr. Bordogna's speeches.


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