Science & Society
1 | 2
| 3 |
4 | 5 | 6 |
the past 50 years, the federal government has provided continuous
and growing support to develop the underlying science, technology
and knowledge that helped us build these capabilities. This began,
in large part, as a result of the significant role that science
played in winning World War II. Since then, our enterprise of scientists
and engineers has been responsive to the changing context of society.
a 1994 speech at the National Academy of Sciences, the late Rep.
George E. Brown Jr. ’46 of California, science’s best
friend and most constructive critic in the Congress, said: “We
must have … a research system that arches and bends with society’s
goals.” The larger context determines the direction in which
this movement occurs; the research enterprise arches and bends to
national needs. Our accrued knowledge from decades of federal government
research support is already serving new objectives brought about
by the events that began on September 11. The nation’s science
policy will move us in the direction of national necessity.
have always used their science and engineering knowledge to remediate
an existing problem or to address a current need. Now we need to
increase our emphasis on envisioning future possibilities, good
or ill, as a mechanism to predict. Scientific knowledge can be an
effective predictor, but prevention requires more. The research
community needs to find more-effective methods to use its capacity
to predict in order to meet real-world needs through prevention.
When foresight directs our actions and the use of knowledge, we
are a lot less likely to fix the present at the cost of the future.
more complete knowledge always replaces current knowledge in a process
of constant renewal. This makes an unshakable case for consistent
research in all eras, at all times, and for our continued support
of our research communities, particularly our universities where,
in addition to generating the truly new ideas that define the future,
every dollar invested contributes to developing and training the
next generation of researchers and educators.