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. 24, No. 4, Summer

A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy Independence: The United States Must Marshal Its Resources and Talent to Tackle the Challenge of Coping with Climate Change
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Sen. Kenneth McKellar, the Tennessean who chaired the Appropriations Committee, to hide $2 billion in the appropriations bill for a secret project to win World War II. Sen. McKellar replied, "Mr. President,...
Building a Wider Skills Net for Workers: A Range of Skills beyond Conventional Schooling Are Critical to Success in the Job Market, and New Educational Approaches Should Reflect These Noncognitive Skills and Occupational Qualifications
The skills of workers in the United States are critical to their own economic performance as well as to that of society at large. But today, despite the nations generally healthy economic growth in recent decades, workers face serious challenges. Less-educated...
Climate Impact on Oceans Examined
On April 29, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing on the impact of climate change on the world's oceans, a relatively new topic of exploration for the nation's policy-makers. The four scientific experts...
Community Colleges under Stress: Publicly Funded Two-Year Colleges Are Facing Daunting Challenges in Dealing with Surging Enrollments of Disadvantaged and Unprepared Students
It is now generally recognized that a high-school degree is no longer sufficient to achieve a family-supporting income in today's society. Society is increasingly divided by income, and income is highly correlated with education, with higher earners...
Connecting Jobs to Education
Contrary to popular opinion, attaining at least a bachelors degree is not the only, nor in all cases the best, route to success. Nor is it the norm. Most jobs do not require a bachelor's degree for entry, and most Americans--including most young adults--do...
Controlling Health Care Costs
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "These are my politics: to change what we can; to better what we can." Health care in the 21st century requires a change from old ways of thinking and doing business to better the lives of all Americans. The articles...
Design and the Elastic Mind
The imagery featured in this edition of issues in Science and Technology is from the exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind, which was on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from February 24 through May 12,2008. Organized by Paola Antonelli,...
Fixing the Parole System: A System Relying on Swiftness and Certainty of Punishment Rather Than on Severity Would Result in Less Crime and Fewer People in Prison
About 600,000 felons will be released from prison this year in the United States and begin some form of official supervision, usually parole. But the nation's system for managing them in the community is inept. Turning this situation around requires...
Homeland Security Research
"The R&D Future of Intelligence" by Bruce Berkowitz (Issues, Spring 2008) accurately portrays many of the significant technology-related challenges--and opportunities--confronting the intelligence community today and suggests four pragmatic "strategy...
It's about More Than Money
Presidential Science Advisor John Marburger's call for a new science of science policy has led the National Science Foundation to initiate a program to support the development of more rigorous empirical and theoretical foundations for understanding...
Middle East Economics
Howard Pack's analysis of East Asia's economic successes rings true ("Asian Successes vs. Middle Eastern Failures: The Role of Technology Transfer in Economic Development," Issues, Spring 2008). The importance placed on education; stable macroeconomic...
Nuclear Safeguards
In "Strengthening Nuclear Safeguards" (Issues, Spring 2008), among the five factors considered by Charles D. Ferguson to explain why the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is confronting a crisis in its ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities,...
Partnership Pays Off
When General Motors (GM) decided to build a new transmission manufacturing plant in Baltimore, Maryland, the company immediately sought a partner to address its training needs. The company faced the huge challenge of developing and implementing a major...
Possible Political Interference at the EPA Investigated
On May 7, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Subcommittee on Public Sector Solutions to Global Warming, Oversight, and Children's Health Protection held a hearing on the scientific integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency's...
Protecting Migration Routes
Almost all birdwatchers in the United States who have been actively involved in their hobby for more than a decade probably have the sense that there are now fewer migratory birds than there were when they first began birding. In fact, one birder,...
Reforming Medical Liability
Frank Sloan and Lindsey Chepke are to be commended for calling attention to fundamental problems in America's medical liability system ("From Medical Malpractice to Quality Assurance," Issues, Spring 2008). The existing system compensates few patients...
Research Funding Via Direct Democracy: Is It Good for Science?
On November 2, 2004, California voters passed the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Bond Act of 2004, popularly known as Prop 71. Its purpose and intent was to, among other things: * "Protect and benefit the California budget: ... by founding...
Schools of Dreams More Education Is Not an Economic Elixir: No Compelling Evidence Exists for the Thesis That Giving People More Formal Academic Education Will Result in a Restructuring of Jobs and Increased Productivity and Growth in the Economy at Large
The idea that education is the key to economic success is widely and rightly popular--for individuals. A person who makes it through high school, then college, and then graduate school is likely to enjoy increased earning power with each new degree....
Strategies for Today's Energy Challenge: Developing New Energy Sources Provides an Economic and Technological Opportunity for the United States
The energy challenge the United States faces today is different from and more encompassing than what it encountered even a few years ago. Until fairly recently, at least in Washington, the energy challenge was seen largely as the need to reduce dependence...
The Crisis in Adult Education; Education Is a Key Factor in Fueling Economic Growth, but the Educational Attainment of Our Workers Is Slipping Badly. New Strategies Are Needed to Help Undereducated Adults
During the past several decades, a dramatic increase in the educational attainment of the U.S. labor force has helped boost worker productivity and fuel national economic growth. However, the demographic forces that produced this increase have ended....
The Path Not Studied
Corporate executives, elected officials, political analysts, leading academics, and the rest of the national elite have formed a chorus of voices proclaiming the value of more and better education for all Americans. The message to the nation, particularly...