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. 10, No. 2, Winter

A Design for New National Laboratories
For entirely different reasons, both the nation's great private research laboratories and the system of federal national laboratories are in crisis today. Private labs such as AT&T Bell Laboratories, which produced the transistor and laser, Xerox...
Cleaner Water, but Not Clean Enough
By strengthening the Clean Water Act, we can finish the job we began two decades ago. The Clean Water Act has undeniably helped control and reduce pollution of the nation's surface waters. Many gross pollution problems that existed a generation ago...
Getting Serious about Science-Policy Reform
Ever since Congress voted to kill the superconducting super collider (SSC) last fall, there have been plenty of postmortems on what surely ranks as one of the saddest chapters in the history of U.S. science. For some of my colleagues, the purpose of...
Making Sense of Worker Training
High on the list of oft-heard prescriptions to cure America's economic ills is better training for the nation's workers. Concern over the state of worker training has grown as post-World War II prosperity has been replaced by more disturbing developments:...
No Free Launch: Updating Space Infrastructure
New technology and creative financing are needed to replace the antiquated systems and equipment now being used for U.S. space launches. Anyone who reads the paper knows the recent woes of U.S. space programs: a spate of failed missions, the annual...
Reforming National-Forest Policy
Biological diversity should replace timber production as the guiding principle as the guiding principle for managing U.S. forests. Last summer, President Clinton announced a forest plan intended to resolve the long-standing controversy over logging...
Sematech's Evolving Role: An Interview with William J. Spencer
One of the most significant considerations for Sematech today is how much has changed since it was created in 1986. Instead of a declining U.S. semiconductor industry in a Cold War environment, we have a strong and growing industry in a dramatically...
The Economic Realities of Biodiversity
Source countries need incentives to protect the genetic resources from which new bioproducts will come. For millennia, people have turned to nature's pharmacopoeia for treatment of their ailments. Indeed, the modern pharmaceutical industry relied primarily...
The Price Is Right: Making Use of Life Cycle Analyses
Calculations of the full environmental costs of consumer items can be valuable--but only if properly used. Consumers' growing interest in the environmental implications of their purchases has spurred various "buy green" campaigns. Related efforts include...
The Real Lessons of Japanese Research Consortia
U.S. consortia were right to look to Japan for a model, but they didn't look closely enough. Almost a decade has passed since the Cooperative Research Act was signed into law. Since then, more than 300 R&D consortia have registered with the U.S....