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Scientists discuss leaving the U.S. in this week's Expert Voices.

Cuts in federal funding, censorship or threat of it, devaluation of facts and knowledge, and limits to the influx of talent will certainly affect American leadership in science and technology. But, the scientific ecosystem is robust, thanks to two remarkably simple structural strengths:

  1. Decentralized control. If the political U.S. consists of 50 states with constitutionally enforced local control, the scientific U.S. consists of thousands of universities, institutes, research centers, national labs, and other operations that form an enormously distributed network with largely autonomous governance structures and indecipherably global webs of interactions. Federalism implies that states can mount their own counter-measures when their interests are challenged. Extreme autonomy of scientific institutions almost guarantees the same.
  2. Public support. Deeper than a desire to be cured from disease or to use a faster internet, public support of science is a rooted belief in — and patriotic pride in — American scientific and technological exceptionalism. A challenge to this quintessential American identity will offend most and produce counter-movements, including political mutiny and philanthropic outpouring.

The bottom line: The robust scientific ecosystem in the U.S. will continue to thrive, and scientists with grit should stick around. The American Dream is alive, at least in science.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Scoop: Leaked Ukraine memo reveals scope of Russia's aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a military exposition in Sevastopol, Crimea, in Jan. 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has been holding last-minute military exercises near commercial shipping lanes in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy, according to an internal document from Ukraine's ministry of defense reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: With the eyes of the world on the massive buildup of troops in eastern Ukraine, the leaked memo shows Russian forces escalating their presence on all sides of the Ukrainian border.

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.