A group of Texas scientists, engineers and doctors wants to recruit talent and research dollars to the state. They have formed an elite academy and awards program to generate interest.
The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas is in it's third year and is open only to members of the National Academies in those fields along with the state's eleven Nobel Laureates. The Academy, called TAMEST by it's members, meets annually to discuss new research and promote scientific endeavors in the state. This year's meeting is in Houston, where TAMEST presented the first awards three young researchers. Dr. Tom Caskey is the president of TAMEST and says their academy members are positioned in all of the major academic institutions throughout the state.
"So we have great influence on where the future of science goes through that mechanism. This award program brings to awareness the young talent that we have in the state, and I see that as being one of the major benefits. It benefits the state that we have young people of this quality."
Three Texas scientists received awards of $25,000 each this year for their work in medicine, engineering and science. Dr. Lynn Loo is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Texas Austin. She was awarded for her discoveries and research in plastics. She says the money will help her research, but the public awareness is even more important to her future efforts.
"So plastic electronics has some visibility. The researchers who are doing work in this area, not only our group but other groups, have visibility so people recognize this."
Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Brown says scientists don't seek awards, but the awards function as an important element of academics. He says people recognize the hard work and dedication of college football teams like the Longhorns, and young scientists deserve the same respect.
"I would imagine that the players are going to be invited to the White House and will be honored with every honor that they truly do deserve. I don't begrudge them one bit, but scientists also deserve some recognition. If we keep our priorities in balance then I think that our country will move ahead."
TAMEST was formed in part by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as part of a strategy to bring more federal research funding to the state. The two other award recipients are Dr. Michael Rosen of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Dr. Gerard Karsenty of Baylor College of Medicine.