Page images

erty, and that is that we can learn something we cannot conceivably learn with any number of 40-inchers. And that is a perplexing, hard internal decision. The National Science Board, at one point, went on record as saying that, when the opportunity is there, we should in every instance go for the acquisition of a new capability which would permit us to do something that simply isn't doable with current capabilities. That is an internal ground rule which we have occasionally used for ourselves.

Mr. DADDARIO. You get to the point where you have to make another decision under that set of facts, too, don't you?

If you were to build a 200-inch rather than the 40-inch telescope because it would do much more for you, then you get into the area of making determinations about national laboratories and the way in which the universities then give up doing what they have been doing in this area and sort of feed off of the national laboratory.

Dr. HANDLER. That is correct.
Mr. DADDARIO. As we have done at Brookhaven and other places.
Dr. HANDLER. That is correct.
Mr. DADDARIO. That is part of the organizational process.
Dr. HANDLER. Right.

Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Handler, you talk about the failure of science support to increase in a series of places where you believe organization can be improved. I wonder if the way in which we get additional science support is through a better organization and as a result of a better organization, a better way to prepare requests or to present requests so they would be better understood by the public, by the Congress. So that we could get the kind of support which they are presently not getting. This is one of the points that Dr. Wenk raised.

Dr. HANDLER. With respect to the American public, the proposed new organization might well provide opportunity for a wider appreciation of the nature and great importance of Federal support of science. And we should spare no effort in so doing.

With respect to the Congress, that is a political judgment which I am not particularly competent to answer.

An additional $100 million in support of research in physics is relatively easily lost in the budget of the Department of Defense, and would loom like a mountain if put on top of the NSF appropriations, for example.

Mr. DADDARIO. You can always put the $19 million in that category, couldn't you?

Dr. HÅNDLER. You can. It was trivial in the life of the Department of Defense. It was, as you know, just an enormous source of confusion and difficulty for NSF.

But I really think that is a political decision and would prefer to put the question back with you, sir.

Mr. DADDARIO. Well, in the final analysis, yes, it is. But the political decisions are allowed to be brought about in the most positive way as a result of the ability to get advice so that this political decision can be made. The ability to organize; to have this organization better understood; to see where the various disciplines are going; to understand which ones ought to be supported and to what extent, and which are subject to interdisciplinary relationships aimed at not only under

standing themselves, and each other better, but also developing the kind of knowledge within them to be directed toward the solution of some of the problems of our society, or at least the hope that they might, I think is a very important part of all we are doing, and what a lot of people are looking for.

Dr. HANDLER. It would certainly provide an opportunity for the American people and for one set of committees of the Congress to be quite knowledgeable with respect to the federally supported scientific endeavor. Under current circumstances, this understanding is fragmented across a great variety of congressional committees.

Mr. CABELL. Would the gentleman yield at that point?
Mr. DADDARIO. Yes, of course.

Mr. CABELL. In line with that same discussion, I have heard the fear expressed on a number of occasions that if these were drawn together it would be like a united fund. That it would decrease the cause or would have a tendency to slow down. But let's look at the other side of the coin. If we had a watchdog-I am sure scientific men don't like to be referred to as watchdog, but that is the only analogy I can make at the moment. But if there were one agency, not committee, in whom the Congress had implicit confidence, that more or less was an agency, we will say, of the Congress, that could dispell the fears on the part of the Members that there is duplication, and possibly couldn't we do even a better job of funding these necessary activities where there is a better degree of confidence on the part of the Congress as a whole?

Dr. HANDLER. That is quite where I came out in the end, Mr. Cabell. That is among the reasons I proposed what I did. I decided that if there be a risk, it should be a purely temporary risk in any case.

So I think this kind of reorganization would serve the national needs and permit science to do a better job of serving the national needs.

Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Handler, we have gone beyond closing time here. You, Harry Brooks, and I have something else to do at noon time. But you have made some very important recommendations, some of them extremely complicated, all of which involve the political aspects, and has imposed upon this committee some serious obligations insofar as its relations to the Congress are concerned.

You spell out and give a light tap at least to the idea of how awkward and difficult this is in regard to the committee structure of the Congress. This is something that we as a committee recognize and have tried over a period of time in formal ways to overcome the structure and in some areas we have been somewhat successful. But this is a far cry from doing everything that needs to be done. Obviously we have some problems here which reflect themselves in some of the organizational activities which go on in the executive branch. I do want time to analyze these and to inquire of you further in this regard. I think we might be able to do it through the form of some staff activity and further questioning. I hope you will agree to do that.

Dr. HANDLER. I will certainly be glad to reply, sir. (Questions submitted by the subcommittee to Dr. Philip Handler:) Question 1. It is common knowledge that the National Science Foundation has always had difficulty selling itself to Congress and the American public. What positive steps can you suggest that the Foundation might take to improve its

image, extend its constituency and secure the funds corresponding to a national policy of continued preeminence for U.S. science?

Answer 1. There are several justifications for federal funding of science and science education. The program basis for funding of the scientific endeavor is the high utility of science to society in general, despite the very low predictability of the ultimate utilization of any one piece of scientific information or understanding:

The public has been done a disservice by two kinds of science reporting, both of which lead to misapprehensions. On the one hand, there have been a few highlytouted, notably successful, science-based inventions in which the practical implications of the science findings were put to work with very little lag. These include the atomic bomb, radar, the proximity fuse, the laser, and a few drugs, including, for example, DOPA, which is currently used for the treatment of parkinsonism. Ordinary reporting ignores the fact that, for most technological innovations, scientific ancestry must be traced back thirty to fifty years in order to develop a clear picture of how the innovation ultimately came about. The second variety of misapprehension was engendered by studies that indicated, as in Project Hindsight, that technological innovation rests on easily available scientific and technical information and ignores the scientific effort that was required, usually over decades, to develop that information. The consequence is inadequate public understanding of the long-term nature of the investment in science, the fact that the intellectual structure of science must be put together brick by brick and that you cannot build the next layer until the previous layer is approximately complete. It is essential that this story be conveyed in some effective manner to the American public and understood by their respresentative in Congress.

The second reason for the support of science is that science represents a central force in our cultural development. It is entirely possible that we shall never utilize the developing understanding of the structure of the cosmos for practical purposes here on earth, and the cost of attaining that understanding is quite considerable. But science is our current frontier, and its exploration (onstitutes a national purpose that gives tone and quality to our civilization. If that be true, as I believe it to be, we require expanded efforts to assure that a much larger fraction of the American public shares in that intellectual adventure as it proceeds. In all likelihood, the chief mechanism available to us for so doing is the television screen. I have little doubt that a greatly expanded program of educational television, supported by private and public funds and addressed to an adult audience, concerned with technological innovation, technological assessment, the growth of science, understanding of our genes, of our brains, and of the physical universe in which we dwell, could significantly extend the constituency of NSF.

A quite different mechanism, a deliberate science lobby, could be created. As you are aware, this subject is raised from time to time. I have consistently opposed such a development. Lobbies speak in protection or aggrandizement of the personal self-interests of their constituencies, be they farmers, doctors, labor unions, or industrial associations. But a science lobby should not be a lobby for the personal interests of scientists. Instead, if it were worth anything, it would lobby in the national interest to extend the development and utilization of science, by securing the financial resources required to do this job. But I can only believe that such an effort would be seriously misunderstood and for this reason I am in dead opposition to creation of such machinery.

The key is surely an enhanced public understanding of science, what it is and how it is used. What is required, therefore, is an educational campaign on all possible fronts, and it behooves working scientists to participate earnestly in such an endeavor. I am sure that both the National Science Foundation-its Board and staff—and the National Academy of Sciences would be most pleased to be of assistance in this regard.

Question 2. Do you forsee the Academy gaining increased influence were it to become less dependent upon Federal funding and able to exe greater discretion in accepting government assignments ?

Answer 2. The charter of the National Academy of Sciences directs it to provide advice to agencies of the federal government upon request. The charter does not forbid the Academy to develop its own agenda, nor does it insist that all such requests should be honored. The Academy is not concerned with "gaining increased influence," for the sake of influence. But it is concerned that it be maximally useful to the people of the United States. To be so, it is increasingly necessary that the Academy be in position to develop its own agenda, to address itself to

[blocks in formation]

major problems of American society in a systematic way, through the use of multi-disciplinary approaches, rather than utilizing its energies and talents exclusively for responding to the patchwork of highly specific requests for assistance, in matters large and small, that come to the Academy from federal agencies. It must continue to be our role to be responsive to such queries, but we could be much more useful to the United States were we sufficiently well endowed with private funds or if we were to receive a modest annual appropriation independent of any specific project to undertake major initiatives and test them before seeking project support.

Question 3. There appears to be agreement among several members of the scientific community that the National Science Foundation should be funded at an approximate one billion dollars a year level. What specifically can be done to sell the Congress and the American people on the need for this action?

Answer 3. The question is, what can be done to convince the Congress and the American people of the need for increasing the annual appropriation to the National Science Foundation to the level of approximately $1 billion per year? If, indeed, I knew a truly useful answer to that question, I assure you that I would already have done my best to implement it. There can be no doubt of the need and the propriety of such a level of funding. I hope that the Congress will give serious consideration to the first report of the National Science Board, which makes the case for the support of research associated with graduate education. We need Americans educated in science for the future conduct of science, for the administration of science, for the application of science in new technology, and for intelligent decision-making by informed citizens. We need additional understanding if ever we are to cope with the problems posed by disease and deterioration of the environment, to enhance our understanding of the opportunities in space and in the oceans for conservation of our natural resources, and to launch sufficient further technological innovations—physical, chemical and biological—to improve the condition of man. We need further understanding if we are to learn how to control the growth of human population while expanding the world's food supply. Thre can be no doubt that science learned tomorrow will be as useful as science learned yesterday, while the understanding of the physical and living universe yet to be gained undoubtedly will reveal a structure even more beautiful and exciting than that which we already know. Meanwhile, the science-based technologies of other nations are rapidly catching us. Technology in Europe, particularly in West Germany, and in Japan is seriously eroding our markets both at home and overseas. The Soviet Union continues to increase its appropriations for science by approximately ten percent per year, whereas our relatively static budgets are being eroded by the forces of inflation.

Most of the American people are not opposed to science nor is their Congress. Their question is, how much science and how much shall be spent upon it? That question can be answered only by the Congress in the last analysis. Numerous courses are open to a nation that can afford to tax itself at a rate in excess of $100 billion per year. But there are also many other uses for such public funds. Moreover, almost all other uses of public funds bring their returns immediately, whereas investment in science is investment in the national future, frequently the long-term national future, indeed after those who voted for such funds have left office. Not to make such investment is to mortgage our future, to jeopardize our position vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and to sacrifice the leadership so hard-gained. If a small fraction of the leadership of the Congress would believe that as deeply as I do, I should think there would be little trouble in bringing the appropriation to the National Science Foundation to an appropriate level. I remind you that the appropriation voted out by the House this year was $420 million. That figure is identical with the appropriation to the National Science Foundation for fiscal year 1965.

From 1965 to 1970 there will have been five years of inflation, five years of increased scientific sophistication which is inherently more and more costly, and five years growth in graduate and undergraduate enrollments, together with new universities serving previously unserved segments of the American population, new medical schools, and so on. It is abundantly evident that the ability of the National Science Foundation to serve the American people has been very seriously diminished with the passage of this five-year period, when, instead, it should have been increased sharply. Moreover, this phenomenon occurred in parallel with the growing inability of mission-oriented agencies to justify their

support of those areas of science that are rather remote from their missions, while they, of necessity and appropriately, continue to support research and development closely related to those missions and utilize their appropriated funds in the accomplishment of the missions themselves. The effective result has been a significant transfer of responsibility for the support of a significant fraction of American science from those mission agencies to the National Science Foundation, but without transfer of funds. As you well know, the Committee structure of the Congress renders real transfers extremely difficult, but it seems to me that this difficulty should not be insuperable. I earnestly hope that the Congress, this year and in years to come, will make possible the necessary adjustments.

When in addition, one recognizes the enormous disparity between our level of understanding or social processes and our great need for such understanding at this transitional time in the history of the American people, the requirement for funding of research in the social sciences makes even more painful the insufficiency of the appropriation to NSF. It will not do simply to gain the technical information required to undo pollution and to build a better contraceptive or a more permanent roadbed. If the lot of the 20 percent of our citizenry who are currently disadvantaged and deprived is to be signicantly improved, if they are to take their places in American society, if our educational system is to be -overhauled so as to be maximally responsive to national need to educate our youngsters for the world in which they will live, rather than for that in which we have lived, if our cities are to be rebuilt so as to be appropriate and convivial to 21st century man, if truly our society is to reap the benefits of our technological capabilities, we must gain much more profound understanding of man as a social creature than is currently available to us. This will require a sustained effort involving large numbers of social scientists of all varieties, many of whom must work in cooperation with biological and physical scientists and engineers if their studies are to be truly meaningful and if mechanisms for implementation of their understanding are to be developed.

The sum of these requirements as an investment in the national future surely justifies early increase of the appropriation to the National Science Foundation to a level at least twice its current magnitude.

Question 4. The National Academy of Sciences has conducted several studies of disciplines-chemistry, physics, astronomy-as to their needs for support.

Is there any plan to take an overall look-to choose priorities among sciences, so as to get away from the Committee on X, comprised of practitioners of X, who recommend more money for X-or cannot science itself do this kind of planning?

Answer 4. The question quite rightly indicates that the scientific community has learned how to evaluate needs of individual disciplines for their future growth in an orderly way. And the question further indicates that we have failed in the past to respond to requests to establish interdigitated priorities within the totality of science, to indicate which areas of research offer greatest promise for early societal payoff, which for long-term payoff, and which for sig. nificant advances in understanding. The consequence has been, in effect, that the Congress and the Bureau of the Budget have made such determinations with relatively little assistance from the scientific community. It is my intention to ask that a committee of this Academy attempt such a multidisciplinary exercise. It will be difficult and full of travail, but the attempt is necessary and we shall make such a trial in the relatively near future, if only to learn how to go about such an undertaking.

Mr. DADDARIO. We appreciate your testimony, and will adjourn this meeting until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock at this same place, when Dr. Lenher and Dr. Harris will appear before this committee.

(Whereupon, at 12:05 p.m., the committee was adjourned, to re.convene on Tuesday, July 29, 1969, at 10 o'clock a.m.)

« PreviousContinue »