Source: Scientific-American | Opinion Blog Post by Addison K. Stark | March 31, 2020
Without federal investment, the current disruption could slow down U.S. economic growth for decades to come
During the great plague of 1665, Isaac Newton made the most of his year of social distancing. While forced to be away from Cambridge, he famously discovered the laws of gravity, conducted groundbreaking experiments in optics and began to develop the fundamentals of differential calculus.
This may serve as a potentially inspiring (or hopelessly intimidating) story for scientists and engineers now working from home. However, today’s scientific and innovation enterprise is no longer driven by monumental individual contributions. Instead, it’s through large international collaborations and day-to-day social and intellectual exchange in universities, national labs, and start-up incubators. In the modern era, social distancing no longer leads to breakthrough innovation.
As a way to help control the spread of the coronavirus, universities across the country have made the difficult, but correct, decision to send students home, transitioning to distance learning in order to fulfill their educational mission.