Princeton science professor Iain Couzin shot back at Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for blasting his research on schools of fish as "wasteful federal spending."
"He got the funding wrong and the species wrong, and he misrepresents the work we've done," Couzin told Politico. "He's done some serious cherry-picking here. That's one study, we've had a series of studies that have taken many years," he added.
Paul said Thursday on Fox News that the military has spent $5.2 million studying goldfish and recommended to cut funding for such programs.
"In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were and if we could learn about democracy from goldfish," Paul said. "I would give the president the authority to go ahead and cut all $5 million in goldfish studies," he added.
However, Couzin defended the research by saying it can help lead to advances in technology for robots that work on deep-sea oil spills and radioactive leaks. He added the research has "direct applications to human security and collective control of robots."
"Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics," Couzin said. "Perhaps Sen. Paul should read our papers before he comments on them and perhaps he should consider more broadly how science can help society," he concluded.