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. 18, No. 3, Spring

A Makeover for Engineering Education: Today's Engineering Schools Are Not Preparing Their Graduates as Well as They Might for Useful Practice in the 21st Century. (Perspectives)
Hollywood directors are said to be only as good as their last picture. Maintaining their reputations means keeping up the good work--continuing to do encores that are not only high-quality but that fully reflect the tastes and expectations of the...
A Sweeter Deal at Yucca Mountain: Congress Should Approve the Nuclear Waste Repository, but It Needs to Offer More Substantial Benefits to Nevada. (Perspectives)
As this is written in the late winter of 2002, the stage is set for a struggle in Congress over whether to override the impending Nevada veto of President Bush's selection of the YUCCA MOUNTAIN nuclear waste disposal site. The geologic repository...
Bioterrorism. (Forum)
Margaret A. Hamburg's "Preparing for and Preventing Bioterrorism" (Issues, Winter 2001-02) identifies the problems and needs for confronting this type of weapons-of-mass destruction (WMD) terrorism. But there are some further considerations. ...
Bolstering the Security of the Electric Power System: The Infrastructure Cannot Be Made Invulnerable, but the Industry Can Improve Its Ability to Provide Service Even When Attacked
The 2001 terrorist attacks made it clear that our airliners, tall buildings, water, and even our mail are potential targets. What will actually be attacked depends on the terrorists' goals, the damage that could be done, and our ability to protect...
Bush Reverses Course, Supports Funding Boost for Nonproliferation Efforts. (Update)
In "Improving U.S.-Russian Nuclear Cooperation" (Issues, Fall 2001), I highlighted the misguided decision of President Bush to propose significant funding reductions for U.S.-Russian nuclear nonproliferation cooperation programs and raised concerns...
Can the Pentagon Be Run like a Business? A More Concerted Effort Is Needed to Reduce Wasteful Spending and Correct Poor Management Practices. (Defense Reform)
The U.S. defense industry is hardly a bastion of free market competition. The industry has a socialist component: government laboratories, shipyards, depots, and arsenals that, in many cases, compete with private companies. Even the part of the...
Environmental Policy for Developing Countries: Most Nations Lack the Infrastructure and Expertise Necessary to Implement the Market-Based Strategies Being Recommended by the International Development Banks. (Environmental Policy)
Most developing countries have long since established laws and formal governmental structures to address their serious environmental problems, but few have been successful in alleviating those problems. The development banks, which control resources...
Ethanol for Transportation. (Forum)
In "The Ethanol Answer to Carbon Emissions" (Issues, Winter 2001-02), Lester B. Lave, W. Michael Griffin, and Heather MacLean point out what we at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have long viewed as one of cellulosic ethanol's strongest...
Federal R&D in FY 2002 Will Have Biggest Percentage Gain in 20 Years. (from the Hill)
Federal R&D spending will rise to $103.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2002, a $12.3 billion or 13.5 percent increase over FY 2001. It is the largest percentage increase in nearly 20 years (see table). In addition, in response to the September...
Fisheries Management. (Forum)
Having been around for a couple of decades, individual fishing quotas (IFQs) are not new to fisheries management, but they are practically missing in New England. The congressional moratorium on new IFQs since 1996 reflects the controversy over...
Let (Most) Discussions Begin. (Editor's Journal)
"Science must be seen as organized evil," warned one speaker. "Science is a force that can liberate us from everything from tooth decay to violence and premature death," declared another. When Columbia University's Center for Science Policy and...
Life-Saving Products Form Coral Reefs: Coral Reefs Are Storehouses of Genetic Resources with Vast Medicinal Potential, but They Must Be Properly Managed. (Perspectives)
During the past decade, marine biotechnology has been applied to the areas of public health and human disease, seafood safety, development of new materials and processes, and marine ecosystem restoration and remediation. Dozens of promising products...
Nuclear Missile Defense. (Forum)
In his article, "Keeping National Missile Defense in Perspective," (Issues, Winter 200 1-02), Dean A. Wilkening considers the utility of a limited national missile defense system and concludes that its principal benefit would be "to reduce the risks...
Preparing for Terrorism. (Forum)
During the Cold War, NATO faced numerically superior Soviet forces in Europe. The NATO strategy in this asymmetric strategic situation was to rely on technological superiority. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a model of...
Putting Teeth in the Biological Weapons Convention: The Bush Administration's Proposals for Bolstering the Treaty Are Useful but Inadequate
In the fall of 2001, letters sent through the U.S. mail containing powdered anthrax bacterial spores killed five people, infected 18 others, disrupted the operations of all three branches of the U.S. government, forced tens of thousands to take...
Reconsidering the SAT. (Forum)
As a psychologist with a longstanding interest in issues of assessment and intelligence, I applaud Richard C. Atkinson's "Achievement Versus Aptitude in College Admissions" (Issues, Winter 2001-02). Although the ideas expressed are not new, Atkinson...
Regulating University Research. (Forum)
In "Regulatory Challenges in University Research" (Issues, Winter 2001-02), David L. Wynes, Grainne Martin, and David J. Skorton illustrate the regulatory environment for university research with examples of current and pending regulations that...
Revamping the CIA. (Forum)
Melvin A. Goodman's "Revamping the CIA" (Issues, Winter 2001-02) criticizes a wide range of alleged inept actions and analyses by that agency. It is difficult from the outside (and Goodman is on the outside, as are we readers) to know whether all...
Solving the Broadband Paradox: The Technology Is Ready, but the Market Is Not. Deregulation, Not Subsidies, Will Speed Adoption. (Broadband Policy)
If The Graduate were being filmed today, the one-word piece of advice that young Benjamin Brad dock would hear is "broadband." Most simply defined as a high-speed communications connection to the home or office, broadband offers Americans the promise...
Updating Automotive Research: Although the Bush Plan for a New Generation of Vehicles Has Merit, More Will Be Needed to Accelerate Commercialization
On January 9, 2002, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Spencer Abraham announced a new public-private cooperative research program with the three major domestic automakers. According to a press release, the program would "promote the development...