Northwest Indiana has a reputation as being a blue collar, dirt-under-your-fingernails area. The jobs for which this area is known tend not to require a lot of education. But that was then. This is now.
Getting a good job now requires a strong academic background, not a strong back.
That's one reason we're proud of Purdue University Calumet Professor Neeti Parashar.
Parashar is part of a team of researchers honored last week with the Nobel Prize in physics for her part in discovering the Higgs boson subatomic particle, which novelist Dan Brown has helped popularize as the "God particle."
The Nobel Prize committee cited Francois Englert, Peter Higgs for the "theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles." Parashar is among 6,000 international researchers who had a role in discovering the subatomic particle, which is believed to have existed since the beginning of the universe.
"This is overwhelming," Parashar said last week. "I have been working on this 10 years. U.S. scientists also worked to confirm this theory."
"In my opinion, this discovery is the crowning achievement of the century," she said.
Pure scientific research like this is vital for the understanding of how our universe works, which can lead to practical applications discovered through subsequent applied research.
Amid all the discussion of federal spending priorities, let us not discount the need to continue the scientific endeavors that have helped our nation be a leader in science as well as military, athletic and other endeavors.
Career advisers tell high school students, and even younger, to work toward careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics. That's where the big bucks are. But that's also where the future of our nation is built.
This Nobel Prize, shared by Parashar, should inspire future scientists from the region. In fact, Parashar is one of a number of Nobel Prize winners from the region.
We are proud of her not only for her part in this discovery, but also for her work in expanding the minds of her students at Purdue University Calumet.