In October of 2002, Rick Smalley, Nobel laureate chemist at Rice University, was pondering what to say to a Congressional Hispanic Science and Literacy Forum hearing in Harlingen, Texas. Smalley used the opportunity to craft an all-encompassing justification for science's importance in the modern world—a justification so persuasive and broad it could be presented to any audience on any occasion. Indeed, variants of his talk have since been given some 200 times, from Dallas to Dubai.1

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