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Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2009. Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future: Summary of a Convocation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12537.
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Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2009. Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future: Summary of a Convocation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12537.
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Page 19

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RISING ABOVE THE GATHERING STORM TWO YEARS LATER Conclusion Dramatic historical events can inspire great achievements. Following the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik, the United States made a commitment to science and technology and to mathematics and science education. Twelve years later, the nation landed a manned spacecraft on the moon. Today, the issues associated with climate change and dependence on foreign sources of oil pose an equally great challenge, and several speakers at the symposium urged that energy security be the rallying cry for a new national commitment to science, technol- ogy, engineering, and mathematics. “The goal,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, “would be to find ways to help our country, which con- sumes 25 percent of the energy in the world, to achieve clean energy independence and do it at a price families can afford.” Such a goal could unleash the creative power of governments, busi- nesses, and students, Craig Barrett said. “The future is not going to be oil or natural resources,” he said. “The future is the brain power of your workforce. The future is ideas.” A national goal also could attract bipartisan support, as did the America COMPETES Act. “This is still the only country in the world where people can say with a straight face that anything is possible and really believe it,” said Sen. Alexander. “These are precisely the ingredients that America needs during the next five years to place ourselves firmly on a path to clean energy independence and in doing so to make our jobs more secure, to Sen. Lamar help balance the family budget, to make our air cleaner and our planet safer and health- Alexander ier, and to lead the world to do the same.” More than two years after its publication, the Gathering Storm report continues both to inspire and to guide the actions of policymakers, business leaders, and educators. Several speakers proposed that the continuing influence of the report be augmented, perhaps by convening regular meetings to monitor progress. As a new administration prepares to take office, continued attention to the recommendations in Rising Above the Gathering Storm will serve the nation well. 18

Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future is much more than a report. It is an action plan that needs to be implemented. —TOM LUCE, Chief Executive Officer of the National Math and Science Initiative It’s been striking to me, listening this morn- Many students, professors and scientists across the ing, to hear Democrats and Republicans country are lining up and saying that the energy speaking with a common voice about what problem is a national and international crisis. They we need by way of a new direction. want to enlist, but the recruiting stations remain —DAVID FERRERO, Senior Program Officer for the closed. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation —STEVEN CHU, Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory We have a comparative advantage on the world stage. We still have the most in- novative nation on this planet; we have a strong science and technology base built over many years; we have a free market and an entrepreneurial economy; and we built all this on a substrate of democracy and a diverse population. If we get our act together, nobody can beat us at this game. But that means we have to consciously as a nation invest in the things that will allow our people to build on our advantage. —CHARLES VEST, President of the National Academy of Engineering Today the problems are more complex [than We are quite literally at the center of a very historic ef- they were in the 1950s], and more global. fort to make our energy supplies cleaner, more diverse, They’ll require a new, educated workforce, more affordable, and more secure. Getting there will not one that is more open, collaborative, and be easy. This is very hard work. But together, I believe cross-disciplinary. we can do it. I have tremendous faith in this country, in our scientists, in our engineers, and in our ability to —KRISTINA JOHNSON, Provost of the come together to innovate and to lead. Johns Hopkins University —SAMUEL BODMAN, Secretary of the Department of Energy I tend to be struck by how far we have come. . . . But I’m also struck by how far we have to go. It’s very doable. It’s just going to take some work. —NORMAN AUGUSTINE, former Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation 19

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Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future summarizes a convocation held in April 2008 to commemorate the release of the original Gathering Storm report. The convocation featured participation by Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, leaders from industry and academia, and other experts. The discussions reviewed progress made thus far in implementing the Gathering Storm recommendations to strengthen K-12 education in math and science, research, higher education, and the environment for innovation. Participants also noted that much additional work is needed to ensure that America remains a leader in science and engineering in the long term.

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