Salute to science underscores its importance to Arizonans

Our view: We hope lawmakers recognize its role in environment, economy, health
2012-09-02T00:00:00Z Salute to science underscores its importance to Arizonans Arizona Daily Star
September 02, 2012 12:00 am

Arizona Daily Star science reporter Tom Beal is in the home stretch of his summer-long salute to the history of science in our state.

The "100 days of science" series has highlighted the importance of science and technology in the development of Arizona and its economy.

Roosevelt Dam and the Central Arizona Project were engineering feats that brought water, people and farming to the desert.

Arizona mining engineers and metallurgists helped invent better technologies and methods that have made Arizona a leader in mining for more than a century.

The "100 days of science" project has also emphasized the role of our state universities in advancing human knowledge across a broad number of fields.

Our universities' contributions to astronomy and optics are well-known, but the series has also put the spotlight on research into climate change, forest restoration, plants and more.

Many health-related discoveries have occurred in university laboratories. Technology to diagnose diabetes came from Arizona State University. The Arizona Cancer Center at the UA has pioneered drugs and new treatments. A team at the UA's Sarver Heart Center found a better way to perform CPR. Their technique has been recommended by the American Heart Association because it saves lives and avoids brain damage.

The basic idea for "100 days of science" came out of a Star staff meeting two years ago to brainstorm story ideas for Arizona's 2012 centennial. Reader advocate Debbie Kornmiller suggested that we write about the greatest inventions and inventors in state history.

Everyone in the room liked the idea, but the task of identifying 100 was daunting. We turned to Jim Gentile, president and CEO of Research Corp. for Science Advancement, for help. Gentile formed a committee of people from across the state and they worked for months to sleuth out the list. Science reporter Beal added even more ideas and set out to report and write about what he calls "the 100 most significant discoveries, institutions, inventions and developments in our scientific history."

Beal's series has reminded us how important Arizona's science leaders are to our enlightenment, health, environment and economy. We hope Arizona's political leaders understand that as well.

As Arizona enters its second century, scientific knowledge and advances are more important than ever to our future.

Arizona Daily Star

Archive is online

If you've missed any installments, they're available on our website. Go to azstarnet.com and search "100 days of science". Be sure to include the quote marks as part of the search. We'll also be repackaging the series to sell as an e-book. Look for more details on that after the series ends on Sept. 10.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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