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Obama's emphasis on science welcomed by researchers

Valentino Stella had not expected President Barack Obama to mention science in his inaugural address.

But when he promised to "restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health-care's quality and lower its cost," Stella, like other area researchers, took notice.

"I was pleasantly surprised the way it floated up to the surface, a very positive development," said Stella, distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Kansas. "I hope people realize it's fun to be a scientist. It's cool to be smart. That's more important than science getting promoted. That's the trickle down."

Weeks into his presidency, Obama has moved on several fronts emphasizing scientific research. But it remains to be seen whether the boost to science lives past campaign promises and the $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law.

The stimulus package puts the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the DOE Office of Science on track to double their budgets in the next seven to 10 years.

The bill also provides billions of dollars for infrastructure improvement at universities and national laboratories.

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.

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