On International Women’s Day, I had the honor to be part of the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering, and discuss how to drive the agenda for African women in STEM. The Next Einstein Forum – which took place in Dakar, Senegal – was the first-ever global forum for science on the African continent. The women in STEM panel was a great opportunity to listen to women from diverse backgrounds and with diverse perspectives, and to celebrate the many economic, political and social achievements we have made.
When you invest in a girl or woman who shows talent and passion for science, technology and math, you invest in your country and its future.
I also joined another panel at the Einstein Forum – but this time to talk about the need for national science strategies that include curiosity-driven research.
At NSF, we are deeply committed to curiosity-driven, potentially transformative science. We engage the scientific imagination of hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers, researchers, educators and students. We invest in universities and colleges that lead to cutting-edge developments and new industries and technologies. We invest in the youth of today to create the STEM professionals of tomorrow, contributing to our country’s skilled workforce.
We also invest in international partnerships that enable significant scientific research. Our global collaborations have accelerated the progress of science and, resulted in improvements in health, security, and prosperity throughout the world.
A great example of this happened last month, when 100 years after Einstein published his general theory of relativity, NSF, MIT, Caltech and other partners announced the first-ever observation of gravitational waves caused by two colliding black holes 1.3 billion light years away. The gravitational waves were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) which NSF began funding in the 1970s. LIGO research is being carried out by a huge international consortium of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. Talk about collaboration!
We look forward to the promise of ever-greater cooperation among nations and institutions as we expand scientific understanding of the endlessly fascinating challenges presented by the world in which we live.