Monday, November 30, 2009


NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences: An Obama Initiative

The following idea was originally named Linus Pauling Academy of the Physical Sciences in a document written by Steven A. Sylwester dated April 6, 2009. The original document was "An Obama Initiative for The United States of America" as is this new document.

For the most part, the original document and the new document are the same except for the name change, though some extraneous information has been edited out.

I have renamed the academy NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences (NAPS) for five reasons:
1. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a United States government agency with an annual budget exceeding $17 billion. The annual federal funding projected for NAPS in the following document is $61.2 million, which is an amount that could easily hide inside the NASA budget without causing alarm.
2. NASA already has developed resources that effectively lobby the U.S. government for ongoing and increased funding as needed. Those resources include NASA's Education Coordinating Committee (ECC), which is chaired by Dr. Joyce Leavitt Winterton, NASA's Assistant Administrator for Education.
3. NASA has an ongoing need to develop homegrown mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, so taking ownership of NAPS would certainly be in NASA's self-interest.
4. The dream of being involved in space exploration is a common dream among many young people who are gifted in mathematics and the sciences. The opportunity to become a NASA Scholar in my proposed NAPS program would inspire many young people to focus their studies in mathematics and the sciences from a young age, and to work hard at excelling academically.
5. If NASA actually managed NAPS, it could create summer internship opportunities for NASA Scholars between their junior and senior years in high school. Being a summer intern at NASA would certainly inspire many NASA Scholars to pursue NASA careers. Consequently, NASA could recruit select NASA Scholars right out of high school, and thereby influence if not outright direct the higher education choices of those recruits.

Steven A. Sylwester
November 3, 2009

Dr. Joyce Leavitt Winterton, NASA's Assistant Administrator for Education, directs the development and implementation of the agency's education programs that strengthen student involvement and public awareness of its scientific goals and missions. In this role, she leads the agency in inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as few other organizations can through its unique mission, workforce, facilities, research and innovations.

As Assistant Administrator for Education, Winterton chairs the Education Coordinating Committee, an agency-wide collaborative structure that maximizes NASA's ability to manage and implement its education portfolio. The ECC works to ensure that the agency's education investments are focused on supporting the nation's education efforts to develop the skilled workforce necessary to achieve the agency's goals and objectives.

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