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. 15, No. 3, Spring

America's Industrial Resurgence: How Strong, How Durable?
The U.S. economy responded successfully to the challenges of the 1980s, but this is no time for complacency. Reports in the late 1980s painted a gloomy picture of U.S. industrial competitiveness. The report of the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity,...
A Permanent Research Credit
Intel appreciates this opportunity to comment on "Fixing the Research Credit" by Kenneth C. Whang (Issues, Winter 1998-99). We recently provided comments to Senator Jeff Bingaman relative to his proposed research tax credit legislation and would like...
As Invasive Species Threat Intensifies, U.S. Steps Up Fight
Since our article "Biological Invasions: A Growing Threat" appeared (Issues, Summer 1997), the assault by biological invaders on our nation's ecosystems has intensified. Perhaps the single greatest new threat is the Asian long-horned beetle, which...
Bill Loosening Encryption Software Controls Gains Support
Republicans and Democrats in the House are uniting behind a bill that would virtually eliminate restrictions on encryption software. However, the Clinton administration is strongly opposed to the measure. The Security and Freedom Through Encryption...
Bioweapons from Russia: Stemming the Flow
The U.S. must broaden its efforts to deal with the serious proliferation threat posed by the legacy of the Soviet biological weapons program. For nearly two decades, the former Soviet Union and then Russia maintained an offensive biological warfare...
Boosting the Service Sector
Stephen A. Hertzenberg, John A. Alic, and Howard Wial's "Toward a Learning Economy" (Issues, Winter 1998-99) gives long-over-due attention to the 75 percent of our economy made up by the service sector. They document that virtually all of the productivity...
Engineering Advocacy
The statistics validating the erosion of engineering degree enrollments, particularly among our minority communities, are indeed staggering (William A. Wulf, "The Image of Engineering," Issues, Winter 1998-99). Consider these equally alarming facts:...
From Marijuana to Medicine
Marijuana does have medical value, but its therapeutic components must be incorporated into conventional therapy to be truly safe and useful. Voters in several states across the nation were recently asked to decide whether marijuana can be used...
Legality of Federal Funding for Human Stem Cell Research Debated
A new debate has broken out on whether federal funding of human stem cell research would violate a congressional ban on federal funding for human embryo research. The debate has been spurred by the announcement by privately funded scientists at the...
Nuclear Defense
The review by Jack Mendelsohn of Atomic Audit: the Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (Issues, Winter 1998-99) provides a good summary of the facts about the cost of nuclear weapons but draws the unjustified conclusion that it...
Plutonium, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Weapons
A new fuel cycle architecture for nuclear power would expand its potential to contribute to the future global energy economy and reduce its potential nuclear weapon proliferation risks. Although nuclear power generates a significant portion of the...
President's Budget Would Cut FY 2000 R&D Spending by $1 Billion
Although the Clinton administration is projecting big surpluses in the federal budget in the coming years, President Clinton's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2000 budget includes only modest increases in spending. Federal R&D, which did so well last...
Questioning Collaborative R&D
David Mowery's "Collaborative R&D: How Effective Is It?" (Issues, Fall 1998) provides a needed overview and assessment of the various forms of collaborative R&D programs that involve industry, universities, and the federal government. His statement...
Sandia as Science Park?
Kenneth M. Brown raises a number of issues in "Sandia's Science Park: A New Concept in Technology Transfer" (Issues, Winter 1998-99). The fundamental issues is the obvious one: Will Sandia's science park be successful? Although Brown carefully notes...
Saving Marine Biodiversity
A comprehensive national strategy is crucial for reversing the rapidly accelerating decline in marine life. For centuries, humanity has seen the sea as an infinite source of food, a boundless sink for pollutants, and a tireless sustainer of coastal...
Setting Standards
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Robert L. Mallett's "Why Standards Matter" (Issues, Winter 1998-99) fails to tell your readers the whole story. Mallett is correct in saying that the United States leads the world in innovation. He is also right to point...
Stopping Family Violence
"Facing Up to Family Violence" by Rosemary Chalk and Patricia A. King (Issues, Winter 1998-99), which is drawn from the larger report Violence in Families: Assessing Prevention and Treatment Programs, discusses what we know about three major forms...
Strengthening U.S. Competitiveness
I very much enjoyed reading Debra van Opstal's "The New Competitive Landscape" (Issues, Winter 1998-99). I and several of my colleagues are actively grappling with the problems of technological competitiveness, because we believe them to be so critical...
The Age of Hubris and Complacency
When times are good, it's easy to believe that they will stay that way. It's early March. The Dow is getting ready to add a digit. The U.S. military is flexing its muscles in Iraq and Kosovo. The chattering class is contentedly chewing on the paltry...
The Price of Biodiversity
Poor nations lack the economic incentive to preserve biological resources; rich nations will have to pick up the bill. Dismayed that their pleas to save the world's biological diversity seem to be falling on deaf ears, conservation advocates have...
The State Role in Biodiversity Conservation
The states are far better positioned than the federal government to protect and restore the nation's plants, animals, and ecosystems. The United States today is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. For a variety of reasons, including habitat loss...
The Stealth Battleship
Converted Trident submarines with Tomahawk cruise missiles would greatly bolster the U.S. Navy's long-range striking power. During the Cold War, when presidents were informed of a budding crisis, it is said that they often first asked "Where are...
The Stockpile Stewardship Charade
The U.S. program to maintain the reliability of the nuclear arsenal is masking an effort to design new nuclear weapons. By signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968, the United States promised to pursue good-faith negotiations "leading...
Traffic Congestion: A Solvable Problem
More creative use of existing highways and rights-of-way can help us build our way out of gridlock. All over the world, people are choosing to travel by automobile because this flexible mode of travel best meets their needs. But grid-locked expressways...