Summary of How to Maintain America’s Edge

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  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening
  • Background


What do GPS, MRI, various cancer treatments and the technologies that drive the Internet have in common? Each emerged from unguided scientific inquiry, funded not by investors greedy for results or even by philanthropic billionaires, but by the US government. Massachusetts Institute of Technology president L. Rafael Reif wishes to remind readers of this and to call attention to how investments in basic science drive the US economy by creating financial and national security. getAbstract recommends this thoughtful essay to policy makers and citizens who want to understand why they should cast their vote for science.

About the Author

L. Rafael Reif is an electrical engineer, a writer and the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



In February of 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational resulting from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away from Earth. It was a proud moment in American science, and it wouldn’t have been possible without heavy federal funding. But how does observing gravitational waves from colliding black holes improve anybody’s life here on Earth? The market is already finding uses for the technologies that emerged from the LIGO quest and will likely continue to do so.


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