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The recent article questioning whether Los Alamos needs a UNM branch showed a surprising lack of knowledge about the town, laboratory, education, technology and technology transfer.
As for NMCC, we have been there. Please, not again. The state tried to close the UNM branch and force students to NMCC years ago. The citizens of Los Alamos rebelled. NMCC was described by terms such as, “barber college,” and, although unfair, it was clear that NMCC does not provide the type, or quality, of education the citizens demand. For an intellectual community, where 17 percent of the population over 25 has a Ph.D. and an income level which makes it the fifth richest county in the entire country, a small university branch seems little to ask.
Also, the lab’s main product is knowledge. It is not a device production facility, except for a few demonstration, or prototype, devices. The citizens want, and need, a university environment, which teaches, and distributes that knowledge, and teaches the capabilities for developing more of it in the future, not a school that teaches current trades and business practices.
If you want to use words, such as “elite,” or “unique,” so be it. It is a town whose knowledge changed the world and it is what it is. People trying to foist phony economic development plans on it will fail. Guaranteed.
Technology is, mostly, in the heads of those who develop it. It does not sit on a shelf to be distributed. And, no one has to come to Los Alamos to learn about it, or to use it. Santa Fe and Albuquerque may be more attractive for their facilities and shopping.
The lab has had technology transfer offices for years, but they have been largely ineffective, and now they are just likely to be a moneymaking ploy for LANS. Patent licensing is, mostly, a legal maneuver. By the time a patent is issued, everyone who is interested will know all about a subject.
So please, realize that we live in a small, wealthy, well-educated town in New Mexico, and most of us do not want to live in a large, less-educated town in New Mexico. We have an important national institution here that produces world-class science and technology. Maybe we will grow in the future, maybe some industry will come, maybe not. Leave it to the citizens and the economy to decide and to either facilitate or fight those changes.
County government and businesses appear to represent their own interests not, necessarily, those of the community. Please, reduce the rhetoric and increase the support.