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. 2, Winter

Antitrust and Technological Innovation
We need to broaden our understanding of government policies that have an effect on research and innovation. The courtroom drama of U.S. v. Microsoft, now playing in Washington, D.C., has drawn hyperbolic press notices. Some observers portray the...
Crisis in U.S. Organ Transplant System Intensifies
More than 10 Americans die each day while awaiting organ transplantation. The U.S. organ transplant system has been in "crisis" for decades, but recently its systemic failures have become more glaring. Indeed, the crisis has worsened since I wrote...
Environmental Alarmism: The Children's Crusade
If the goal is to reduce the health risks to children, environmental regulation is not the place to begin. The next generation of Americans has long been a focus of attention for policymakers and policy advocates, but in the past several years,...
Facing Up to Family Violence
A concerted effort to understand the complexities of abuse and the effectiveness of treatments is essential to making homes safe. For an alarming number of Americans, the family is a source of fear and physical violence. The 1996 National Incidence...
Fixing the Research Credit
The political forces are lining up behind changes that will enhance the credit effectiveness. Even as economists describe the importance of R&D in a knowledge-based economy and policymakers increase their fiscal commitments to other forms of...
House Science Policy Study Receives Mixed Reviews
The House Science Committee unveiled the results of its 11-month National Science Policy study on September 24, billing its report, in the words of Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), as "an attempt to build a foundation upon which we can base future policy...
New Radon Reports Have No Effect on Policy
Indoor radon poses a difficult policy problem, because even average exposures in U.S. homes entail estimated risks that substantially exceed the pollutant risks that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) usually deals with and because there are...
R&D Is Big Winner in 1999 Federal Budget
A last-minute congressional spending frenzy helped boost federal R&D funding significantly in the FY 1999 year to $80.2 billion - $4.1 billion or 5.3 percent more than FY 1998. Every major R&D funding agency except the National Aeronautics...
Russia's Woes Continue to Plague Space Station Project
Although the first piece of the international space station, a Russian-built module called Zarya, was launched on November 20, Russia's problems in meeting its commitments to the project continue to hamper the station's development. Russia's difficulties...
Sandia's Science Park: A New Concept in Technology Transfer
When Sandia National Laboratories announced plans for a new science and technology (S&T) park, it opened a new avenue for partnership with private industry. For years, the national laboratories have been urged to create better connections with...
The Ehlers Report
"Unlocking Our Future" contains too many of the musty concepts of the past. To be fair, one should be realistic about what can be achieved in a relatively brief overview of all U.S. science and technology (S&T) policy. When House Speaker Newt...
The Image of Engineering
We must celebrate the creativity of engineering to attract more, and more diverse, engineers. Something's wrong with the public perception of engineering. A recent Gallup poll found that only 2 percent of the respondents associated engineers with...
The New Competitive Landscape
Although the U.S. position has improved recently, important changes are needed to ensure its long-term strength. Only a decade ago, global competition shook U.S. self-confidence to the core. U.S. industry seemingly could not match the price and...
Toward a Learning Economy
The country's economic prosperity demands that we shift the focus of business and government toward strengthening the service sector. More Americans now work in physicians' offices than in auto plants. Roughly as many work in retailing as in all...
United States Signs Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
Although Congress continues to oppose the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the Clinton administration signed the document on November 12, saying that it hoped to spur overall progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol was signed during...
Why Standards Matter
The United States must play a more forceful role in the development of international standards. Today the United States is the world's most prolific exporter, its strongest competitor, and its most productive innovator. Yet there are no guarantees...