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UCLA Magazine Fall 2002
The Little Marias
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Fall 2002
Science & Society
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In the post-September 11 era, the need for government support of university research to answer critical questions is more urgent than ever before.

By Rita R. Colwell
Illustration by Daniel Chang

There is a short list of historic moments that have come to be used as markers for us to measure a place in time. When we speak of ancient time frames, we mark them with B.C. or A.D. In our own history, we speak of the Revolution, the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, Sputnik, the Kennedy assassination, the moon walk and now September 11. That day is a new marker in our collective psyche and in our society.

At this time of change and uncertainty, the need for visionaries, scientists, policymakers and pragmatists is greater than ever before. They can bring together their experience, wisdom and research in measured debate. Together they can provide both historical context and analytical order to promote the public discussion and understanding of the complex issues we face.

It is abundantly clear that there is a concurrent need for increased scientific and engineering knowledge. In times such as these, we are acutely cognizant of living in a society defined by, and dependent on, science and technology. Every discussion about airline safety, contamination by disease, failure of communication links, poisoning of food and drinking water, assessment of damaged infrastructure and countless other concerns depends on our scientific and technical understanding and expertise.

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