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directions and I will try to do so this morning. To make my point of view clear, I will start with several observations regarding the role and organization of science in Federal activities.
Not long ago, I expressed the concern that scientists in general, and scientists in Government in particular, have failed to make clear to the public the nature of the great bulk of the Federal expenditures for research and development. In large part, these funds allow us to draw from our stock of established scientific knowledge and develop specific solutions to specific problems. A much smaller part of the expenditures go toward discovery of new knowledge. We can think of scientific and technological efforts as falling in two groups. One is problem solving. This is the larger part and forms a portion of the work of almost every agency. The other grouping or class I have in mind here, might be called generation of new scientific knowledge. Work of this latter sort, which consumes only a small fraction of total Federal expenditures for research and development, gives us the wherewithal to meet and solve future problems.
These two classes of Federal science activities are not neatly separable, thought we attempt a similar sort of separation when we report expenditures for basic research and for applied research and development. Even though the boundary is never sharp, it is useful to keep this sort of distinction in mind as we discuss the organization of Federal science activities. The organization should reflect the pervasiveness of technological efforts in present day society. This is a scientific age, an age of institutionalized change, an age with tools of ever increasing effectiveness for shaping each increment of change to the needs of the individual. A soundly designed organization should keep in its nands all of the tools necessary to do its job. An agency concerned with housing should judge how much research and development effort should be put into development of improved materials and building techniques, knowing that these expenditures will cut into the funds available for construction, for example, of low-cost housing using currently available techniques. An agency concerned with transportation systems, will want to weigh programs, involving heavy research and development expenditures, such as development of intercity subways, against programs for improved surface transportation which might involve very little research and development. This is what I mean by reflecting the pervasiveness of technological efforts. Substantial expenditures for research and development need to be considered as one of the means for meeting nearly every one of the major challenges of our times. The wise choice in some cases will surely be not to undertake substantial expenditures along these lines, but the choice is best made with the understanding that the largest segments of Federal research and development should, as illustrated above, compete with other alternatives for meeting particular challenges.
It is useful to identify some essential strands which pull Federal science activity together. In 1966 in a talk before the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, I expanded on two major points: The first was that man's growing domination of his environment today demands that we take a new and broader outlook toward our future development. And secondly, in dealing with mankind's physical growth, with the mass society in a world of growing population, we
must not neglect the individual human being and his basic need for a more satisfying, purposeful life. In a nation founded on concern for the individual, a focus of Federal science activity must be the enhancement of the individual-his freedom, his welfare, and his pursuit of happiness.
Focused in this way, science can provide us with marvelous tools for the solution of many of the weighty problems of our physical and social world. The force of science in our culture received perhaps too little attention in the report before us this morning. Science has become a part of our culture with important influence on nearly every aspect of our lives and institutions. Today we have more freedom of choice than any of our ancestors ever had. We have more freedom from ignorance, superstition and ironclad tradition and, as a result, more freedom of change-to control and direct our future, our creative evolution. We need to appreciate the character of these achievements, the sources from which they have flowed, and especially, the impressive views they have given us of what the future can hold.
have just spoken of the value of looking at the largest segments of expenditures for research and development as items to be judged on their efficacy in solving particular problems. However, other parts of the impact of Federal science on our society must also concern us. Special attention needs to be given to the strength of the institutions which carry out the search for new scientific knowledge and, in particular, to the adequacy of the methods and level of support for academic science and engineering. These matters lie at the source of the power scierce had to influence the course of our future. They provide the fundamental new insights and the skilled workers, the knowledge and the cultivated minds.
Let me speak first of support for academic science and, in particular, of what I described last winter in a talk before the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States as "the Government-university partnership in graduate education.” In that talk I defended four generalizations. The first of these is that, in my opinion, the Federal-university partnership in cultivating intellectual resources is a permanent one. Second, the framework for adequate Federal participation, broadly, in educational support is now largely available. Third, Federal support for education at the college and graduate levels is relatively nonpolitical and this has allayed, if not abolished, old fears of centralist control. Finally, the dynamics of the scientific revolutionthe cycle of accelerating scientific and technological power, increasing productivity, greater leisure, and the demands for higher skills--seems to me to guarantee not only the permanence but the increase in Federal involvement. My outlook on the Federal-university partnership is one of optimism. I note the gloom in many quarters and the strains induced by tapering off of budgets for science support. But I believe that in the years ahead ways will be found for stabilizing Government financing of the universities and also to provide for the moderate growth and funds essential for spontaneous creative initiative. Some of the present problems are serious, and solutions need to be found. I will say more concerning these problems later on.
One other aspect of the search for new scientific knowledge warrants mention at this point. Along with the contributions from on
campus research at the universities, an increasingly rich flow of important new ideas has come from other performers of research. Whether these are among the larger Government laboratories, or, as is the case with the major AEC laboratories, they are Governmentowned and contractor-operated, they ordinarily share one characteristic in common. They commit a significant part of their effort to wide-ranging inquiry, to acquisition of new knowledge. This is certainly true of the major AEC laboratories. These efforts in basic research stimulate a heightened awareness of scientific trends and opportunities, of the importance of scientific excellence, and should continue to be integrated within overall laboratory structures. Just as the effectiveness of any industrial or Government operating unit is highly dependent on the organizational skills of its top management, the effectiveness of any laboratory is highly dependent on the scientific skills of its basic researchers. In the AEC laboratories, great emphasis has been given to collaborative efforts with the universities. I believe these efforts have been extremely fruitful. There is heavy interaction between the AEC laboratories and the universities to the advantage of both.
The important, often rather glamorous role of basic research and academic science should not be allowed to obscure the principal thrust of Federal science activities. Earlier I described the great bulk of these activities as concerned with providing solutions to specific problems. The Government as a whole is concerned both with how to solve particular problems and with which problems deserve tackling at what levels of effort. It seems to me that there is considerable merit to having comparisons of problem solving methods made within an agency so those with the broadest policymaking responsibilities can most effectively compare the levels of effort appropriate for groups of tasks with related purposes. The principle I am invoking here is much like the notion of program budgeting. It makes good sense to organize departments and agencies around coherent endeavors. There are, of course, a great many ways any particular set of activities can be grouped as programs. The same is true for grouping programs to form agencies. One of the questions we need to examine is the intrinsic difficulty of the comparisons at the earliest steps of the budgetary process. Also, are the people involved within the agency likely to feel a sense of unity of purpose? These are questions we should ask about proposed reorganizations. They are also questions worth asking with regard to present agencies.
The Atomic Energy Commission arose, I think, from a sense of special national responsibility. Its unity is based on the idea that, to best fulfill this responsibility, work concerning both military and civilian applications of nuclear energy should be merged in a single agency. Sometimes the feeling is expressed that nothing so familiar as nuclear energy really deserves special handling. The report under discussion here, for example, suggests that the weapons development work of the AEC could be transferred to the DOD. But I believe that there is widespread public recognition that the idea of merging work on civilian and military applications remains valid and, needed, compelling. The discovery and
development of nuclear energy has changed our world. In a moment, I will dwell on some of the benefits we can
look forward to in the coming decades. About half of AEC expenditures are now directed toward civilian applications. This Nation should, I believe, continue to reap the benefits derived from such peaceful applications of nuclear energy. But we have not treated and should not begin to treat nuclear weapons as just another weapons system, and I think it remains wise to handle nuclear energy matters, with their magnificent and their fearsome possibilities, in a rather special institutional framework.
In many ways, the best criterion for judging the soundness of the present framework, for judging the AEC as an institution, is its record in the development of civilian and military applications. It is a record of success. It is a record compiled in large part by workers at the AEC's major multidisciplinary laboratories which have maintained over the years unparalleled standards of creativity and excellence. The importance and impressiveness of AEC contributions to military applications is, I believe, widely recognized. On the other hand, by its very nature, the peaceful atom is a rather "silent servant of man" so much of the record is not too well known.
Certainly one of the most prominent successes, and one in which all of us associated with the AEC take great pride, is the development of nuclear-fueled central power stations. I think there is little doubt that nuclear energy opens up vast new resources at a most opportune time in our energy consumption history. If we project our population growth, the growing power demands of our technological civilization and the even more rapidly increasing demand for electricity, it becomes obvious that the world's fossil fuel resources alone could not fill our needs.
Nuclear power has a number of advantages besides economics. It is a compact source of fuel so that plant location decisions need not be dominated by transportation costs. It is uniquely clean. In the long run, nuclear power may help to alleviate air pollution in an additional way; that is, in the use of nuclear-generated electricity for operation of electric trains and perhaps even battery-operated automobiles, thus lessening one of the chief causes of the Nations air pollution. The heat from nuclear powerplants can be used to desalt seawater, and as an extension of this concept, there appears great promise in the development of large nuclear powered agroindustrial complexes.
I have spoken of successes to illustrate the health of our laboratories and the fruitfulness of the AEC as an institution; but I want to emphasize even more strongly where our past work can lead us, and I believe, should lead us. The increase in the peaceful applications of nuclear energy in recent years has been so great that I've often referred to it as the “proliferation of the peaceful atom.” The AEC laboratories have a full agenda of work in the nuclear field; work which, I think, will be of outstanding value to our Nation. This situation did not come about by chance or by the assumption of projects of marginal worth. Since its beginning, the AEC has taken as its responsibility not merely the development of a few obvious examples of civilian applications, but rather a full range of applications wherever nuclear energy could make important contributions. Our country has made and is making through the AEC sizable and sound investments in the understanding of nuclear processes. Projects are
underway at every stage of maturity-from the nurturing of newborn ideas to the employment of fully developed techniques and systems. I can attest to the fact that the competition for the available funds is extremely keen.
I spoke earlier of the use of nuclear energy for the generation of electric power, and I believe this can be expected to remain the largest peaceful use of atomic energy. For the future, we are looking toward the development of much more efficient reactors, known as advanced converter reactors, and eventually “breeder” reactors. I think it would be totally unrealistic to look solely to industry to develop these power sources. The long-range nature of these programs, the magnitude of the necessary investment, and the inability of
any company to take into proper account the full range of social benefits combine to preclude development by the private sector alone. I think the importance of the advanced converter and breeder programs to the general welfare is not easily exaggerated. I think the AEC has demonstrated the skills in overall planning and management to bring these programs to fruition while bringing industry in as soon and as fully as the public interest allows.
Ånother source of nuclear power is under investigation based on use of controlled thermonuclear reactions. If we can succeed in developing controlled fusion, we could literally use the heavy hydrogen in the waters of the oceans as a source of energy—a source equivalent to 500 Pacific Oceans filled with high-grade petroleum. These studies hold promise of almost unparalleled social benefits, but, again, their nature is such that sound policy requires Federal leadership and Federal investment, particularly at their present stage.
An increasingly promising use of nuclear energy is nuclear explosives for peaceful purposes, which are being developed under our Plowshare program. Important areas of application include nuclear excavation-of harbors, lakes, mountain passes, and canals—and what we call underground nuclear engineering—which includes fracturing of rock to improve recovery of natural gas, of oil from shales, of important elements such as copper and gold from low-grade ores.
Nuclear propulsion has been tremendously successful for naval vessels, and in my opinion, it is only a matter of time before we seriously exploit the use of nuclear power for merchant ships. The AEC is also developing nuclear sources to furnish the energy required for the recovery
of minerals in the ocean and on the ocean floors. Related sources of nuclear auxiliary power are being developed for satellites, space ships, lunar and planet exploration in our space program, and, as you know, the AEC and NASA are jointly developing a nuclear rocket engine that will be much more efficient than the chemical engines in use today.
Turning from space to a quieter but more widespread application of nuclear energy, I would like to mention the role of radioisotopes and radiation. More than 30 isotopes are used by some 10,000 hospitals and physicians to diagnose and treat 3 to 4 million people in 8 million individual applications per year in the United States alone. An even more dramatic medical use of radioisotopes is in the development stage, and that is as a power source for such heart-assist devices as a cardiac pacemaker and even a completely implantable artificial heart. We