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Hubble to be De-orbited
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Author Topic: Hubble to be De-orbited  (Read 6571 times)
Ilanin
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2005, 15:37:53 EST »

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Genuine progress percievable by society and government research, within capitalist society (love it or loathe it, we live in it) don't mix.


This is so deeply wrong as to actually be offensive to those on this board who are involved in government (by which I mean HEFCE or EPSRC or similar US bodies)-funded research programs in the applied sciences.

I could mention some of the advances that have come out of Cambridge (which are the ones I'm best versed in) from government-funded research, such as the development of bioactive materials such as the composite HAPEX(TM) for prosthetic joints, - or those which are about to, such as breakthroughs in nanofabrication or titanium refining (the latter now being developed to industrial practicability with the aid of $15 million of NASA funding, since it could be used to produce rocket fuel as well as refine metals).

Right. That's three examples from one department of one university (mine, obviously), entirely off the top of my head - and I'm a penultimate year undergrad without detailed knowledge of its research...government funded research does produce immeaditely applicable results.
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2005, 15:51:41 EST »

A very large majority of accademic research is goverment funded.
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Ilanin
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2005, 16:01:48 EST »

True for the pure sciences; probably not true for the applied sciences (Computer Science, Materials Science, Pharmacology, and Molecular Genetics are a few that spring to mind) although I don't have any hard data to hand.
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2005, 17:55:47 EST »

Think of goverment funded accademic research as any of the research that goes at unviersity (even some of the research at private universities in the US is goverment funded through grants).  I can't speak for eveywhere, but the lage public university[1] that I went to as an undergrad did a lot of materials  science research as well as computer science research, as does my current uni (cs more then materials).  I really can't speak much about the biological sciences because they're pretty well outside of my feild of expertise [2].  

For me at least, the issue is much less about who actually funds the research, and it is more about what sort of freedom the scientests are allowed in their research.  Many discoveries are made by someone looking at a problem because it looked interesting, not because it was one of the trendy ideas of the moment.   As long as scientests have the freedom to persue the projects that they want to and can publish and talk about their results freely, that is what I ultimatly want and care about.  Right now I see publicly funded research as the best way to ensure that this happens. Sure, its not perfect, but I think its the best we have for now. When a better system comes along, I will happily switch to it, but I don't see a better one out there.


[1] University of Maryland at College Park
[2] I'm a physicist/graduate student researcher in 'Anvendt matematikk, mekanikk og numerisk fysikk '[3] at UiO[4]
[3] Applied mathematics, mechanics, and numerical physics.  
[4] University of Oslo
[/url]
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Ilanin
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2005, 18:19:23 EST »

I suppose I might have a biased picture here. Cambridge probably has more funding from private concerns than your average university, since big business is going to be attracted by the reputation; I think it's around 50% private funding in my department and Engineering and Computer Science are also very heavily backed (Microsoft paid to move the Computer Scientists halfway across the city into a set of very flash new buildings about three years ago...).

In addition to the research done at universities there is a lot of strategic research done in-house in the applied sciences by companies involved in those fields; Intel or GlaxoSmithkline are obvious examples to cite.

So I contest "vast majority". A majority, probably. But in the applied sciences

Your broader point about the irrelevancy of the source of the funding is, of course, correct. Hence my previous comment mentioning three applications that had been developed because someone thought "what if...?" about something interesting rather than following the outline set down by a corporate research director.
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Ilanin
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2005, 18:20:36 EST »

Sorry. The penultimate paragraph should have ended "...but in the applied sciences, with a greater prospect of a direct reward, there is significant private investment"
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Gizensha
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2005, 21:46:02 EST »

Quote from: Ilanin
Quote
Genuine progress percievable by society and government research, within capitalist society (love it or loathe it, we live in it) don't mix.
Right. That's three examples from one department of one university (mine, obviously), entirely off the top of my head - and I'm a penultimate year undergrad without detailed knowledge of its research...government funded research does produce immeaditely applicable results.


Universities are private institutions, as such even if the research is government funded, they still count as being private enterprises. The analogy being that to a building company, it doesn't make a difference if they get hired by a private company to build an office block or a government to build one. I was refering specifically to 'government research' rather than 'government funded research'. As in, research by government departments. Or if I didn't I should have done.

Also - could you specify the point in time that the NASA funded projects came through? I kinda count the space-race as part of my 'cold war' comment, and am just wondering if they fit outside of it or inside of it.
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2005, 01:36:48 EST »

uuuuhhh...  Many many many unviersities are not by any means private, they are for the most part public institutions, i.e. ultimatly goverment run.  
some examples of public universities:
University of (something)
(something) State Universitiy in US
(something) A&M or (something) School of Mines in US
all universities in Norway
Upsalla University
and many many many more.
These are just what I can think off the top of my head at 7am before caffine.
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2005, 02:01:46 EST »

Really? Interesting. I know for a fact all UK universities are, essentially, private, non profit companies which are run from fees (either paid by local education authorities under means testing, but that's a government grant to an individual rather than the university) and private research grants. There might be some government subsidees somewhere along the lines, but they're quite definitely all run as non-profit bussinesses.
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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2005, 09:26:03 EST »

How the universites are run must depend on where you are.  It seems like they're pretty much private in England, they're all public in Norway[1], and in the US, its a mixture of public and private universities, and telling which is which is not always easy. University of (something) is pretty much always public, but MIT is private.  The North Carolina School of the Arts is actually an accreditied university belonging to the UNC system.  

I've been googling, looking for a list  of which universties world wide are public and which are private, but I can't seem to find one.

I get the feeling that we are all biased by what we know from where we live and where we're from[2].  


[1] all four of them, but then again there are only 4.5million people here
[2] to state my locational bias: I'm from North Carolina, got my BS at the University of Maryland at College Park[3], and currently live in Oslo, Norway where I'm a graduate student/researcher at the University of Oslo working purely from direct goverment funding.
[3] almost, but not quite, in Washington, D.C.
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"Power corrupts.  Absolute power is kind of neat."
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