The end of the war brought joy, relief, and new challenges to the United States. The nation's wartime accomplishments were harbingers of a bright future, and its wealth was at last free to be invested in that future. But the challenges were many, and the ways to meet them unclear. The United States was in a position similar to that of the winner of a very big lottery prize. A new way of life lay within its grasp if—and it was a big if—the unfamiliar new wealth could be safeguarded and invested wisely.
The challenges in science and technology were especially pointed because the close connection between atomic bombs and national security was obvious, and the impact of wartime advances in medicine was already part of U.S. daily life. It was natural to ask what the government could do to preserve and expand the institutions that produced these and other benefits. This question, so much easier to ask than to answer, would occupy Washington for many years after the war. The answer would come as a series of seemingly disconnected actions. These began in 1945 with the report from Bush to President Roosevelt proposing a federally funded foundation dedicated to the support of science in U.S. universities. Washington, however, was occupied with science problems that had carried over