Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Signing Off

“Without research, there is no hope.”

~ The Honorable Paul G. Rogers

Here on my last day as a regular New Voices blogger, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this quote. It seems hyperbolic at first glance. To suggest that research funding is the key to hope seems to be a tad over-reaching. But, then you stop and think about it. What is hope, but the belief that the future can be better than the present? What is research but the search for a better future? Allow me to ramble a bit.

As a D.C. resident, I try and make the effort to brave the tourists and go to museums. Like many young men, my favorite museum has been - and always will be - the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Walking in and seeing planes and space shuttles from all generations always takes my breath away. Walking around that museum I see dozens of things that had been declared impossible. People said flight was impossible. People said space travel was science fiction to the extreme. It gives me hope knowing that we have done the impossible and been to the edge of science fiction.

During the 40th anniversary of the moon landing there have been numerous articles on the hope that "one small step" gave to a generation. Even now, the idea of walking on the moon sounds vaguely like science fiction. The fact that technology that seemed imaginary could be made real through science makes all things seem possible. If we can land a human on the moon, what is there that we can’t accomplish? That is hope.

Hope can also be personal.

My grandfather had his first heart attack in his 50's, long before I was born. This was when heart attacks were a death sentence and meant months in the hospital. He survived it, but was forced to retire. He would suffer further heart problems that eventually resulted in a bypass. Without the bypass surgery and improved medicines and preventative programs, he never would have lived long enough to meet even one of his grandchildren. Yet despite his heart problems, he lived to be 93 and had met his first great grand child when he passed away last year.

This is what I think of when I think of hope. This is the future that Paul Rogers envisioned: the hope of holding your first grandchild. The hope of walking on the moon. The hope of cars that don’t rely on gasoline anymore and better plants and vaccines for AIDS and cures for cancer. The grand dreams that we all have for the world will be sped along by the research of scientists the world over.

I will always think of my grandfather and the medical discoveries that allowed us to become friends. I hope for every family to be as lucky as I have been.

So, I’ll leave you with that. Without research there is no hope. Tell your friends.

P.S. I’m also hoping for jet packs.

Takao will be returning to Georgetown University Law School to pursue his juris doctorate this fall. New Voices was glad to have his unique voice with us as a regular blogger this summer and look forward to his guest posts in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Good Luck, Takao. You'll definitely be missed!