I will be giving the fortnightly Science Salon tonight, Thursday 12 November 2009, at 5:30 PM, in the back room of the Auld Dubliner (at the intersection of Euclid and University, in Tucson) on the topic of science funding. Abstract is as follows:
Poll a roomful of academic scientists about funding and you will likely find a consensus position: "Yes, please!" Most of us are economically productive, but what we produce cannot be sold, which means we are largely dependent on grants from the government and the private sector. It is often argued that science is by its nature a public good and thus will be underprovided by the private sector. We will discuss to what extent this is the case, as well as under what conditions government funding of science is fair to nonscientists, how the funding paradigm affects the way science is done, and whether or not it can reasonably be improved.