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. 23, No. 1, Fall

A New Science Degree to Meet Industry Needs
All of us are aware of urgent calls for new and energetic measures to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness by attracting more U.S. students to study science, mathematics, and engineering. In the case of scientists, one reason for the lack of science-trained...
Bills Target Attacks by Animal Rights Activists
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to address the growing issue of attacks, particularly on laboratories, by extremist animal rights groups, which Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) said are having a "chilling effect" on research. The House...
Bills to Boost Competitiveness Advance
In a vote demonstrating a bipartisan commitment to boosting U.S. economic competitiveness, the House Science Committee on June 7 approved the Science and Mathematics Education for Competitiveness Act (H.R. 5358) and the Early Career Research Act (H.R....
Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research Bill
Within 24 hours of a Senate vote of 63 to 37 to approve the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, President Bush issued the first veto of his presidency, closing a chapter in a long and complex debate over the use of federal funds for human embryonic...
Committee Backs Funding for New Energy Technologies
The House Science committee voted on June 27 to approve the Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act of 2006 (H.R. 5656), which authorizes $4.7 billion over six years for the development and promotion of new energy-related...
Electric Reliability
Starting with an unexpected premise--that the United States ranks toward the bottom among developed nations in terms of the reliability of its electricity service--the three leaders of Carnegie Mellon's Electricity Industry Center lay out a compelling...
Energy and Security
In "The Myth of Energy Insecurity" (Issues, Summer 2006), Philip E. Auerswald argues that "increasing oil imports do not pose a threat to long-term U.S. security" because today's energy markets make the threat of an economic shock from a severe oil...
Ethics and Science: A 0.1% Solution
Science has an ethics problem. In South Korea, Woo Suk Hwang committed what is arguably the most publicized case of research misconduct in the history of science. The range of Hwang's misconduct was unusual but not extraordinary. He misjudged the ethical...
From Brain Drain to Mutual Gain: Sharing the Benefits of High-Skill Migration; A Global Economy Built on Policies That Foster Mutual Gain Would Be Both Richer and Fairer Than One Premised on a War for Talent
The news on high-skill migration (HSM) is good and getting better. More highly skilled people are moving across borders for education and work than ever before. Judging by figures on graduate-school applications from abroad that were released in March...
From Energy Wish Lists to Technological Realities: Federal Policymakers Have Long Agreed on Energy Technology Goals; Now They Must Come Together Behind the Policies That Can Succeed
The aspiration for new technology has been at the heart of every energy policy developed since the first oil embargo in 1973. President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address continued the quest for new technology by proposing the Advanced Energy Initiative,...
Glide Path to Irrelevance: Federal Funding for Aeronautics; Aeronautics within NASA Is Too Important to Neglect in Favor of Space. but That Is Just What the Federal Government Is Doing
The nation's 100-year preeminence in aviation is in serious jeopardy. So, too, are the medium- and long-term health and safety of the U.S. air transportation system. The peril stems from a lack of national consensus about the federal government's role...
House Challenge to Climate Change Research Fizzles
Continuing challenges to studies by climate scientist Michael Mann and colleagues by climate change skeptics in the House, led by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, appear to have fizzled after the release...
Natural Gas Crisis?
Gary J. Schmitt's "Natural Gas: The Next Energy Crisis?" (Issues, Summer 2006) examines a topic that deserves more attention than it has received. Although rising oil prices have preoccupied the U.S. public and policymakers, we are in the midst of...
Nuclear Deterrence for the Future: Although the Geopolitical Map of the Future Differs Significantly from That of the Past 60 Years, Deterrence Remains a Linchpin of Global Security
The most significant event of the past 60 years is the one that did not happen: the use of a nuclear weapon in conflict. One of the most important questions of the next 60 years is whether we can repeat this feat. The success that we have had in...
Nuclear Waste Standoff
As chairman of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over the federal government's nuclear R & D programs, I read Richard K. Lester's article on reprocessing and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) ("New Nukes," Issues, Summer 2006)...
Preventing Catastrophic Chemical Attacks
A terrorist attack on a single 90-ton chlorine tank car could generate a cloud of toxic gas that travels 20 miles. If the attack took place in a city, it could kill 100,000 people within hours. Now multiply that nightmare by another 100,000. That's...
Reorienting U.S. Drug Policy: The Nature and Extent of the Illegal Drug Problems in the United States Have Fundamentally Changed during the Past Two Decades; Now Policy Needs to Change as Well
The United States will soon surpass the half-million mark for drug prisoners, which is more than 10 times as many as in 1980. It is an extraordinary number, more than Western Europe locks up for all criminal offenses combined and more than the pre-Katrina...
Revamping the Military
In "The Pentagon's Defense Review: Not Ready for Prime Time" (Issues, Summer 2006), Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. provides a good summary and valid critique of the Pentagon's recently completed Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The review sets out three...
Securing Life Sciences Research in an Age of Terrorism: Bioscientists Must Work Closely with the Government to Minimize the Possibility That Vitally Important Research Could Be Misused to Threaten Public Health or National Security
The anthrax attacks that closely followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks helped create a sense that danger was everywhere. They also helped create a crisis for science. Government statements that the anthrax attacks had most likely been carried out by...
The False Promise of the Scientist Ex Machina
In a scene in the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen is waiting in line to enter a movie and becomes disgusted with a guy near him in the line who is blathering about media expert Marshall McLuhan. Woody finally turns to the guy and tells him that he doesn't...
The Shield and the Cloak: The 21st Century Demands a More Expansive Understanding of National Security
Imagine the 21st century as a three-dimensional chess game. One dimension represents the United States. One dimension represents the world of nation-states. The third dimension--a new one--represents stateless nations. In the 20th century, national...