Issues in Science and Technology

A quarterly journal of the National Academy of Science focused on discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. Provides a forum researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others concerned with public policy to s

Articles from Vol. 19, No. 2, Winter

Attracting the Best and the Brightest. (Perspectives)
Are careers in scientific research still attractive to the most talented young Americans? This is a critical question since it is widely held that innovation in science depends less on the many "worker bees" in the enterprise than on a decent sprinkling...
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Blocking Invasive Aquatic Species: Federal Law Must Be Updated to Stop Introductions of Nonnative Organisms, Especially by Ships
Voracious snakehead fish from China crawl out of a Maryland pond, while 100-pound Asian carp smash into recreational boats on the Mississippi River. Armies of alien rats, numbering in the millions and weighing up to 20 pounds, raze wetland vegetation...
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Can the Testing Industry Meet Growing Demand?
If the states focus their efforts on fulfilling the new federal requirements, the testing companies should have the capacity to meet their needs. The passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act significantly increased the prominence of standardized...
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Conflicts of Interest in Human Subjects Research
We must manage research scrupulously so that neither individual nor institutional financial interests result in danger to participants. Conflict of interest in biomedical research first came to public notice in the 1980s via a number of cases...
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Congress Approves Bill Authorizing a Doubling of NSF Spending. (from the Hill)
After a compromise developed in response to White House objections, Congress passed the National Science Foundation (NSF) doubling bill (H.R. 4664), which authorizes NSF programs for the next five years. The bill specifies funding that would rise...
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Department of Homeland Security Will Have Big S&T Component. (from the Hill)
On November 25, after months of partisan debate over personnel rules, President Bush signed legislation establishing a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the primary mission of preventing terrorist attacks within the United States....
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Everyday Threats to Aircraft Safety
Several actions are needed to reduce the small--but persistent and increasing--danger that electronic devices carried aboard by passengers pose to commercial aircraft. On the morning of February 9, 1998, an American Airlines 727 on final instrument...
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Forum
Federal research funding. The sharing of costs between sponsors and performers is a contentious issue with ancient roots. What we know for sure is that performances have definite costs and that someone has to pay them. What we do not know is...
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Highway Research for the 21st Century. (Perspectives)
The U.S. highway system faces many challenges in the years ahead, challenges that cannot be successfully addressed without new knowledge and innovations of all sorts. For example, how can highway agencies and their contractors reconstruct heavily...
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Improving Workplace Hazard Communication: The Information-Based System Set Up to Protect Workers from Chemical Exposure Is in Need of an Overhaul
Workers in many modem industrial settings have long faced a multitude of chemical threats to their health and safety--some of them obvious, many more barely perceptible. As early as 1972, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health survey...
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Knowing What Students Know
Recent advances in the cognitive and measurement sciences should be the foundation for developing a new system of student assessment. Many people are simply puzzled by the heavy emphasis on standardized testing of students and eager to find out...
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New System to Scrutinize Foreign Students Hits Snags. (from the Hill)
A new system designed to more closely scrutinize foreign students is unlikely to be fully implemented by the January 30, 2003, deadline set by Congress, according to witnesses at a fall 2002 hearing of the House Education and Workforce Committee....
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No Child Left Behind: Assessment Is a Key Component of the President's Plan to Ensure That All Students Receive an Adequate Education
On his first day in office, President Bush announced that education was his priority and set forth a plan that was based on four principles. The first, of course, is accountability. The president said that too many children across this nation are...
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OECD Science, Technology, and Industry Outlook. (Real Numbers)
Despite the economic slowdown that spread across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) area in 2001, investment in and exploitation of knowledge remain key drivers of innovation economic performance, and social wellbeing....
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President Bush Signs Cybersecurity R&D Bill. (from the Hill)
On November 27, President Bush signed into law the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act, authorizing nearly $903 million in funds over five years to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology...
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Proposed Big Increases for R&D in FY 2003 May Be in Jeopardy. (from the Hill)
Hefty increases in research and development (R&D) spending proposed by the House and Senate for fiscal year (FY) 2003 may be in jeopardy because of President Bush's determination to hold overall discretionary spending in line. The president's...
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Republican Control of Congress Could Lead to Science Policy Changes. (from the Hill)
Because science and technology research generally enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, the outcome of the November elections and the return to a Republican-controlled Senate will not likely result in major shifts in funding priorities. However,...
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Science and Technology in Foreign Policy. (Perspectives)
This is a time when the constructive power of science and technology (S&T) can propel humankind to new levels of global well-being, or when their destructive power could bring an era of darkness and suffering. Although decisions by governments...
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Testy about Testing. (Editor's Journal)
Discussions of standardized testing often seem to be about anything but the tests themselves. Advocates of school choice and vouchers hope that poor test results for public school students will convince lawmakers to allow some public money to be...
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The Hazards of High-Stakes Testing: Hyped by Many as the Key to Improving the Quality of Education, Testing Can Do More Harm Than Good If the Limitations of Tests Are Not Understood
With the nation about to embark on an ambitious program of high-stakes testing of every public school student, we should review our experience with similar testing efforts over the past few decades so that we can we benefit from the lessons learned...
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Wanted: Scientific Leadership on Climate. (Perspectives)
What happens when the scientific community's responsibility to society conflicts with its professional self interest? In the case of research related to climate change the answer is clear: Self interest trumps responsibility. In 1989, Senator Al...
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