Advancing the Frontiers of Science

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On October 13, I had the
pleasure of speaking at the White House Frontiers Conference session on Space,
Science and STEM Education. I kicked off the panel by sharing how NSF’s funding
support over 40 years led to one of this century’s biggest stories of discovery:
the detection of gravitational waves from two merging black holes 1.3 billion
lightyears away. Einstein was right!

President Obama recently
noted, “Scientific discovery doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch.” Those
are words we live by every day at NSF, appreciating that investing in
scientific research is high-risk and high-reward.

Astronomy and planetary
science capture our imagination in a special way,  and we at the National Science Foundation are
excited to support scientific discovery and the next generation of
“discoverers” who may, like Einstein, see what cannot yet be seen.

The conference
showcased many examples of scientific discovery pushing the boundaries of innovation. Talks highlighted new frontiers of science—from the
discovery of planets to finding small but dangerous objects in our solar
system—and the importance of educating the next generation of discoverers.

For all the technology at our fingertips, the people who make these discoveries are the cornerstone. The energy and ideas of the students and the NSF-funded researchers I met at both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh gave me great joy and inspiration. I’m thrilled to be a scientist, exploring new frontiers.

You can access the entire session here: http://www.frontiersconference.org/tracks/interplanetary

Photo credit: Aya Collins, NSF