Nobel laureate David Baltimore is considered one of the world's most influential biologists. He has had a profound effect on national policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and AIDS and for nine years led the California Institute of Technology, where he still directs the Baltimore Laboratory.
As a scientist, educator and university administrator, Baltimore sees science and technology through a distinctive prism, giving him an almost unparalleled big picture view of the strengths and weaknesses of the nation's knowledge economy. While the United States remains a leader in this area, Baltimore says, other nations are gaining ground.
But the solution is not to advance the field of science in the United States alone, he says. Helping other countries expand education and technology improves their economies, counters terrorism and adds to the knowledge base as well.
"A good idea is a treasure, no matter what mind conceives it," Baltimore said in a 2008 essay. "The stronger world science is, the more ideas will bubble up, and the richer will be the brew of ideas and experiments that each of us can draw upon."
Baltimore shared his views on international science development, the state of funding for U.S. R&D and the status of stem cell research, among other topics, at this Milken Institute Associates breakfast.
Baltimore, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1975 for his research in virology, is the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. He was founding director of MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, President of Rockefeller University and head of the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. Baltimore received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University.
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