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. 16, No. 1, Fall

A Strained Partnership
In "The Government-University Partnership in Science" (Issues, Summer 1999), President Clinton makes a thoughtful plea to continue that very effective partnership. However, he is silent on key issues that are putting strain on it. One is the continual...
A Vision of Jeffersonian Science
Jefferson's decision to fund the Lewis and Clark expedition reflected a philosophy of government support for science that makes good sense today. The public attitude toward science is still largely positive in the United States; but for a vocal...
Big Boost in Information Technology Spending Sought
A bill introduced Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Science Committee, would nearly double, to $4.8 billion, federal funding for research in information technology (IT) and related activities over the next five years...
Commercial Satellite Imagery Comes of Age
The quality and detail of commercial images are taking a leap forward; governments will have to learn to live with it. Since satellites started photographing Earth from space nearly four decades ago, their images have inspired excitement, introspection,...
Congress Set to Create Separate Agency to Run DOE Weapons Labs
In an attempt to bolster security at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) nuclear weapons labs, Congress, as of mid-September, was on the verge of passing a bill that would create a semiautonomous agency within DOE to run the labs. The White House is...
Congress Split on FY 2000 Funding for R&D
As the September 30 deadline loomed for approval of all FY 2000 appropriations bills, Congress was deeply split on R&D funding, with the House approving significant cuts and the Senate favoring spending increases. Because of severe disagreements...
Conservation: Who Should Pay?
In the Spring 1999 Issues, R. David Simpson makes a forceful argument that rich nations [members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)] should help pay for efforts to protect biodiversity in developing countries ("The...
Correction
In the Forum section of the Summer 1999 issue, letters from Wendell Cox and John Berg were merged by mistake and attributed to Berg. We print both letters below as they should have appeared. In "Traffic Congestion: A Solvable Problem" (Issues, Spring...
Creating Havens for Marine Life
Marine protected areas are urgently needed to stem the tide of marine biodiversity loss. The United States is the world's best-endowed maritime nation, its seas unparalleled in richness and biological diversity. The waters along its 150,000 kilometers...
Education and Mobility
Increasing the effectiveness of our nation's science and mathematics education programs is now more important than ever. The concerns that come into my office - Internet growth problems, cloning, nuclear proliferation, NASA space flights, and global...
Engineering's Image
Amen! That is the first response that comes to mind after reading Wm. A. Wulf's essay on "The Image of Engineering" (Issues, Winter 1998-99). If the profession were universally perceived to be as creative and inherently satisfying as it really is,...
Fusion Program Still off Track
Since publication of our article, "Fusion Research with a Future" (Issues, Summer 1997), the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fusion Energy Science (OFES) program has undergone some change. Congress has mandated U.S. withdrawal from the $10-billion-plus...
Global Growth through Third World Technological Progress
Helping less developed countries make better use of their scientific expertise may be key to the future pace of technological progress. During the past four decades, the study of technological innovation has moved to center stage from its previous...
GOP Bills on Database Protection Clash
The debate over protecting proprietary information in electronic databases took a new twist when Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, proposed a bill that clashes with a bill sponsored by his GOP colleague, Rep. Howard...
Government Accountability
In "Are New Accountability Rules Bad for Science?" (Issues, Summer, 1999), although Susan E. Cozzens is correct in saying that "the method of choice in research evaluation around the world was the expert review panel," a critical question is by whom...
Innovation Policy for Complex Technologies
U.S. technology policy must be revamped to deal with accelerating technological and organizational complexity. The complexity of the technologies that drive economic performance today is making obsolete the mythic image of the brilliant lone inventor...
Nuclear Futures
In "Plutonium, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Weapons" (Issues, Spring 1999), Richard L. Wagner, Jr., Edward D. Arthur, and Paul T. Cunningham argue that if nuclear power is to have a future, a new strategy is needed for managing the back end of the nuclear...
OMB Revises Proposed Rule on Release of Research Data
Attempting to meet objections from the science community, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has revised a proposed rule governing the release of research data. But the science community still believes that the rule could compromise sensitive...
Perils of University-Industry Collaboration
Richard Florida's analysis of university-industry collaborations provides a sobering view of the gains and losses associated with the new partnerships ('The Role of the University: Leveraging Talent, Not Technology," Issues, Summer 1999). Florida is...
Reefer Medics
"From Marijuana to Medicine" in your Spring 1999 issue (by John A. Benson, Jr., Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and Janet E. Joy) will be disappointing on many counts to those who have long been pleading with the federal government to make supplies of marijuana...
Remembering George E. Brown, Jr
Issues is honored that the article on the Small Business Innovation Research program that George Brown coauthored with James Turner for the Summer 1999 Issues was the last article that Rep. Brown worked on before his death on July 15. As he did with...
Reshaping National Forest Policy
Chief Mike Dombeck is steering the Forest Service in a fundamentally different direction. During his two and a half years as chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Mike Dombeck has received considerable attention and praise from some unlikely sources....
Science and Foreign Policy
Frank Loy, Under Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. State Department, and Roland Schmitt, president emeritus of Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, recognize that the State Department has lagged behind the private sector and the scientific community...
Small Business Research
In "Reworking the Federal Role in Small Business Research" (Issues, Summer 1999) George E. Brown, Jr. and James Turner do the academic and policy community an important service by clearly reviewing the institutional history of the Small Business Innovation...
Stockpile Stewardship
"The Stockpile Stewardship Charade" by Greg Mello, Andrew Lichterman, and William Weida (Issues, Spring 1999) correctly asserts that "It is time to separate the programs required for genuine stewardship from those directed toward other ends." They...
Technology Needs of Aging Boomers
As the elderly population grows more numerous and more active, the public and private sectors will have to develop specialized products and services. It happens every seven seconds: Another baby boomer turns 50 years old. As they have done in other...
The False Dichotomy: Scientific Creativity and Utility
Congress and the executive branch must change the way they make budget decisions to create a powerful new form of federal research. The call by Gerald Holton and Gerhard Sonnert in the preceding article for government support for Jeffersonian research...
Traffic Congestion
Although the correspondents who commented on Peter Samuel's "Traffic Congestion: A Solvable Problem" (Issues, Spring 1999) properly commended him for dealing with the problem where it is - on the highways - they all missed what I consider to be some...