Question: If you receive a billion dollars to invest in science, what you choose to do ?

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  1. Hi!
    Well, that would certainly be a lot of money…I’m not sure I can imagine in my head how much that is!
    There are so many scientific activities that need funding, the first example I can think of are climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies. Just think about all the resources needed to prepare for flooding, which is becoming more and more frequent in several countries.
    But something else that I think is very important to help us improve our forecasting systems (and therefore be prepared for events such as flooding, just to use the same example) is the possibility of having direct climate measurements for a long period of time, to help us understand how the climate system changes and then make more effective predictions.
    So yes, maybe I would invest it in the development of a forecasting system in a region which is important for climate but not very well explored (for example, maybe the Southern Ocean?).


  2. Hi Cristina, I’m glad you like to think big! it’s not easy to come up with a good answer to that because i think, with such a huge amount of money you should invest it to the biggest problem(s) we are facing. I’m sure everyone has a different answer to what they tink is the biggest problem, but i guess i would invest it in sustainable energy research. I think it it is a real problem that we are using all the resources the earth collected over millions of years (so oil and gas), within 2, maybe 3 centuries. Of course we like to live a nice life and need a lot of energy for that, but the more we can take that from wind, water, solar and other sustainable forms of energy the better it is. the biggest problems with those forms of energy is actually the energy efficiency and storage. Still so much energy is lost by transferring the solar input to electricity and it is still very difficult to store big amounts of energy (which gives energy problems if, for example the sun doesn’t shine, or there is a day without wind). If we could do research to improve these things, sustainable energy gets much more beneficial and hopefully we can use less and less of the earth’s resources.


  3. Hi cristinazorzoana,

    A billion!?!?!?!

    I would take it and run away, hehehe. No, seriously, I cannot even know how much money is a billion! Such amount of money for one single researcher is a too large responsibility that I do not like handle. If I were given 1 billion to spend in Earth sciences I would try to distribute it into the most important areas for the Earth right now, global warming, geo-hazard prevention (earthquakes etc) and environmental solutions. For sure I would keep a portion (with a 2% of that I would be the happiest researcher ever) to investigate supercontinents and Pangaea formation.


  4. One billion dollar? 1,000,000,000$ ?!?!
    That is a really a lot. And I think way too much for me to handle. There are so many important things to find out and it is really hard to tell, where to start!

    I would love to boost my research that I can do lots of nice studies. But even if I spent a lot of money on studying earthquakes in understudied regions, then there would be like 990 million dollar left… 😉

    The research of sustainable energy resources is an important issue, also environmental research. I would definetively need some friend or colleague who would help me with this decision…


  5. wow! I have no idea!

    I think maybe i would work with lots of other people to employ lots of PhD students and early career researchers so that many good scientists could be employed for a long time! I would also maybe set up a program where students could get money to go on field work as getting experience is very expensive!