« PreviousContinue »
If we need to reorganize science, I think what I am saying is we really need to look to the reorganization or the strengthening of Government as a whole, the Government that uses science rather than science itself. I think that our younger generation is more interested in going at these tougher problems; and if we are wise enough to give them some organization and support so they can do so, I think we will get an immense amount out of them.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Stever, Mr. Brown brings up a point that might fit into the structure of the development of a laboratory which might handle, for example, transportation and pollution. He emphasizes the problem we have any time there is a change. The industry that is involved does rise and resist as though with one voice. You see this time and time again. But I wonder if automotive people came to the lab with separate reasons for resisting, and if you got them together and made these reasons more visible, you would find that they wouldn't hang together as well as they might themselves think.
Dr. STEVER. Yes, sir. First of all, I would like to talk to this point. I don't think we should say only industry resists this kind of change. All people resist this kind of change. In an academic institution, our departments, those that are going down in popularity, resist change.
Our real problem is to set new goals and new ways so that these units can discover a new and higher activity that they can be involved in. You know, we are not going to solve the problems of pollution without industry, without science, without Government. Industry is going to be involved in a major way. We have got to set the goals to make them realize it. We are not going to solve transportation without industry, either.
Mr. DADDARIO. In fact, their resistance is preventing them from enlarging their activities.
Dr. STEVER. Going to larger goals, that is right. In fact, I think the business opportunities in getting at some of these new things are just immense and also I will say the same for the rewards to people in the colleges to get involved, and it works for everyone. So I do think, to go back, that the sign of our times is to address the higher order problems.
Mr. Brown. Can we involve the ministers and philosophers in this. If we talk about setting goals, they ought to have something to say.
Mr. DADDARIO. Even throw a few lawyers in there.
Dr. STEVER. There is going to be plenty for all of us to do, so the real problem is to get at the new problems, and I think young people often see these more clearly than we do.
People always try to find the bad guys, the ones who are to blame for our current problems. I am awfully glad we have automobiles. I do know they pollute the atmosphere, but I am not going to give up my automobile. I'm going to try to solve the pollution problem.
I am glad we have airplanes. I know they make noise and cause other problems, and I am glad we have new buildings which cause other problems. I don't want to give these things up. I want to apply the tremendous strength we have to fixing up the weaknesses.
So I think that is really our problem, to get people marching toward these new approaches.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Stever, this subcommittee has found itself engaged in not only organization, but also in the effects on our environment of our science and our technology. In our technology assessment work, we find that people generally do stress the negative aspects of science and technology. Even though each report does point out there is so much good that can come from this provided we properly structure our society and develop the management and administrative capabilities which can mold and form and direct this to its most positive use.
I must admit that we can talk about it much more easily than we can do or have done something about it in the past. What we are hoping for is some guidance in the development of a strategy which can over the long run adjust what is going on within Government and move it so that it can achieve purposes and ends and not develop competitive strain which inhibits the best uses of our society.
Dr. STEVER. Yes, I think so. If the current organization of science and its relation to the rest of society is not capable of doing this, then I think you have no choice but to reorganize.
This is, as I say, the place where you are going to be tested as legislators. This is the sign of our times, and it is the place where we are going to be tested as scientists.
Mr. DADDARIO. We are wandering all over the lot, but I do think it is helpful for the purposes of these hearings.
Dr. STEVER. Going back to the organization of science, as I thought over the testimony which I wrote earlier, I think I would put the condition on it that either we are going to have to use this structure we have which is going to have to respond quickly, or we have got to reorganize. I would go that far.
We do have groups that frequently make me realize that the structure we now have is beginning to think more and more about this, trying to do a better job. The National Science Foundation, which I know something about, is trying to broaden their mission and to select more carefully the sciences of the future. Whether they are going far enough, I am not sure, but I think we do have to put the pressure on it right now and make a decision.
Mr. DADDARIO. Are we moving in the right direction by bringing more and more of the scientific people into the legislative process? This develops a closer working relationship than we have had in the past. I have been particularly pleased with the American Chemical Society's work. After some thrashing around, Their work on a cleaner environment is particularly significant and helpful. The other work they intend to involve themselves in could be extremely helpful to the legislative problems. The engineers are trying to restructure themselves. It does appear that we need somewhere to break down the barriers which prevent the political process and the scientific management and administration from somehow relating one to each other.
Dr. STEVER. I agree. I think the increased communication has been immensely helpful. Unquestionably the activities in the field of science and its applications in every group, every committee, every organization, are now directed more broadly than they were before with respect to communication and cooperation in this effort, and I think they are tremendously positive signs.
I am not a pessimist. I think we save made lots of progress. I think Congress has done a lot of exactly what you have described. I think the administration is doing better on this now,
and I think all of our learned societies and colleges are doing better; but I do think we have got to continue and not sort of just get it into the talking stage, but we must move to the action stage more effectively than we have up to now.
There are a lot of learned reports written about how we should do these things, but we have yet to go forth with full strength to do them. I think we just have to force the system to do this.
Mr. DADDARIO. Yes, Mr. Mosher.
Mr. MOSHER. I want to express my apologies to Dr. Stever and to you, Mr. Chairman, for arriving late. I am sorry I haven't heard the testimony, and I want to study it.
As it happens, I was participating in another hearing in the Subcommittee on Oceanography where we were hearing a former colleague, the Lieutenant Governor of California, in what was amazingly significant testimony, just sparkling with specific suggestions, concerning the reorganization of governmental activities in the oceans which has a very real bearing on what we are talking about here.
I would recommend his testimony to the consideration of our staff on this committee.
Dr. STEVER. The ocean, of course, is an area where we have such wonderful opportunities because we are just beginning to see the uses there.
Mr. MOSHER. And the opportunity of coordination in efforts, between the Nation and a State so important as California in this area, is very significant and, of course, that is what he was addressing his remarks to.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Mosher, could I make a related comment.
In my own experience, I have been aware that in the State legislature in California, they have been making some notable efforts to reorganize their own capability of dealing with science. To a degree, they have been following the model of this committee and this subcommittee in some of their efforts.
I do believe that we could learn a great deal from the patterns that they are using because what I suspect is happening is that they are profiting from some of the mistakes or inadequacies of what we are doing. They are trying to correct those and move to another level of excellence; and if we can observe whether they achieve that and get a little feedback there, we may be able to improve our own operations.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Stever, you talk about forcing the situation. This would contemplate, I expect, the creation of a new laboratory or institution.
What have you been thinking about from a priority standpoint ? What does come first? What kind of a structure will you build to meet the challenges and to force the issue?
Dr. STEVER. Well, I am glad you asked. I think I can give a priority list even though I haven't thought of it in advance of this particular meeting.
The problem of getting our minorities, not only minorities, but poor people, to a better place in society, I would place first, but I think that the roots that we can do that with are better educational opportunities at all levels and better employment opportunities, broadening our concept of employment possibly. We can't get either of those, by the way, if we give up our strength of industry or anything else. We have got to keep them strong, because they are the ones, our industry and our academic institutions, colleges and all, that are involved in treating these problems, who are going to have to solve these two things, and we have to get to keep them strong.
The second priority that I would suggest has to do with our environment. The reason I say that is that we may be at the time in society in which we have so much more power to change environment adversely and sometimes almost unwittingly-it sneaks up on usbut I think that this is something we must address very rapidly. They are not only the short-range problems, but they are the longrange problems, and I really believe we have got to get science thinking on these much more effectively and coming up with some answers as to what are the long-range effects of some of the things we have been doing
You know, all through history as society has used science, it has run into the problem of what is the risk of using it, and you go right back to the early days of this country when steam engines and steamships were coming along. Well, should we allow these to enter as important elements of our society? They are pretty dangerous, because the boilers blow up quite often and kill people. But we had to figure out what were the risks there, and we had to work our technology to a point where we got acceptable risks of things happening.
Today we have an exact counterpart in the aeronautical business, our airplanes. We have to keep worrying. We want better transportation by air, and we have to keep worrying what are the risks we are willing to take. We want to get rid of mosquitoes and the bugs which bother us. What are the risks we are willing to take? Because each thing we do, involves some risk to society as a whole, and we are plunging along so rapidly in technology that sometimes we haven't thought enough.
So I think this is my second highest priority.
Then I would turn to other problems such as transportation and the greater convenience of living, to improve these areas. These matters are obviously all related, but those would be the priorities I would suggest for society.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Pettis.
Mr. PETTIS. I would like to ask Dr. Sterer a question, because I have the same concern he does. I think my priorities are pretty much along the line of his.
I have been working on a task force on earth resources and population. We have had some people testify before our group. You mentioned this as your first priority—the problem of the minorities and giving them opportunity for employment and education and all the rest, but you take a very basic scientific fact, for example, of a man and his wife with an IQ of 75, and they have 14 children. You have got a built in
Dr. STEVER. Problem.
Mr. PETTIS. Because the chances are there aren't going to be many progeny that will have an intelligence that will take advantage of the education of the kind that you and I are talking about. Education for crafts and trades and skills, maybe, yes, but when we get into sophisticated areas of solving our problems, no.
Dr. STEVER. Mr. Pettis, the reason I said, in my statement, I would like to possibly come to a new concept of both education and employment, is to take account of that. We sometimes think of education only as going right to the highest, and it is true that a physicist who is going to work on the accelerator or the aeronautical engineer who is going to build a supersonic transport or any other specialist has got to have a high degree of education of the kind we have in our most edvanced colleges and universities. On the other hand, education is also concerned with the early years of young people and with bringing to an optimum everybody no matter what their environment is to begin with. So I say, if we adopt a broader concept of what education is and a broader concept of what employment is, we may be able to get at some of these problems. It is going to be tough, because it isn't just educating scientists for doctorate degrees; it is educating all kinds of people.
Mr. PETTIS. If you gentlemen could yield for a moment, I talked yesterday with a group of carpenters. Now, they want to help get us out of this hard-core unemployed problem. Yet, they say they cannot yield on this point of a high school education, for example, because if you are going to be a good carpenter, you have got to have at least an eighth grade and hopefully a little more than that in the way of an education, in order to be a good carpenter, to get these 2 by 4's together or to take measurements and to do all the rest.
So what I am really saying, is that it looks, to me, as though some of the things I read in the headlines, some of the problems we face socially, have at their roots some situations which are going to be most difficult for us as a society to solve.
Dr. STEVER. I agree.
Mr. Petris. I haven't the answers, but I can tell you there are a lot of questions that I would like to have the answers to that are so basic. Maybe one of the problems we have is that we place too much emphasis upon a college degree and a Ph. D. in physics or space physics
Dr. STEVER. You are hitting very close to home.
Mr. PETTIS (continuing). Or aerobiology or space physics, and if you haven't got that today, you are nobody.
Dr. STEVER. Mr. Pettis, I don't want to downgrade those things, but I really do think you have got to upgrade the other things you are talking about; and when you talk about education or anybody in this Congress talks about education, you shouldn't bring in just the college or university president with a doctor's degree in physics, but you should bring in those who are concerned with the other problems as well, and that is exactly what I mean by broadening the concept of education and also broadening the concept of employment.