Sciences in Communist China: A Symposium Presented at the New York Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 26-27, 1960

By Sidney H. Gould | Go to book overview

Preface

China has always been a land of mystery and fascination for Westerners, who for centuries have made sporadic efforts to increase their tenuous knowledge of its civilization. In the era of modern science, whose progress and beneficent results depend so fundamentally on the dissemination of knowledge, there was a growing conviction that these efforts should be intensified and systematized.

In early April 1960, the Office of Science Information Service of the National Science Foundation distributed to representatives of ten American scientific societies a "background paper" proposing that a symposium on the sciences in Communist China be held at the December 1960 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The papers, of the state of art type, primarily were to report new information of significance to the development of science. The general purpose of the symposium was to improve communication to Western audiences of the results of scientific research conducted in China.

The symposium was a joint program of the Conference on Scientific Communication and the AAAS, and was cosponsored by the National Science Foundation and ten organizations: American Chemical Society, American Geological Institute, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Institute of Physics, American Mathematical Society, American Meteorological Society, Engineers Joint Council, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and Social Science Research Council.

The invitations for a preliminary meeting, described as a working conference, were sent to American scientists representing the ten professional societies mentioned above and to fifteen Chinese- American scientists in the physical, biological, and social sciences and in engineering. At the meeting, held on April 15, 1960, it

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