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Although a presidential advisory system was given statutory authority in 1976 with passage of the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization and Priorities Act, whose passage was encouraged by then-President Gerald Ford, its effectiveness and influence have varied according to the interests of successive presidents and their advisors. A broad spectrum of bewildering new problems that were virtually nonexistent or minimally important during the heyday of the first presidential science advisory system under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy limited the effectiveness of the revised system even during the science-friendly first Bush administration. These included, for example, environmental and energy issues, the effectiveness of the nation’s health care system, the inadequacy of pre-college education, and the effective use of science as a tool for international diplomacy.

It is worth noting that all but four presidential science advisors have been physicists. Of the four exceptions, three came out of academia, and only one out of industry. Arguably, the insistence of an influential group of physical scientists that a strong presidential science advisory system should be the sine qua non of a consistent and effective national science policy may have hindered formulation and implementation of such a policy. The size and diversity of the federal science and technology system renders comprehensive knowledge of its many facets virtually impossible, and without such knowledge central coordination is problematic at best. Cabinet departments and independent agencies have often pursued their own effective science policies, with at least the tacit support of the White House and some monitoring by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. But by the 1990s, science-related issues had become too diverse for central coordination at the presidential level. At best, the president’s science advisor can hope that policies pursued by the separate federal science-related organizations are consistent with the president’s priorities.

The presidential science advisory system reached its nadir during the George W. Bush administration. A potential reversal of that decline began with the election of Barack Obama, who nominated several well-regarded scientists, including one Nobel Prize recipient, to administration posts in November 2008 and during the first months of his administration. His February 2009 economic stimulus package also included generous support for several federal scientific agencies. Whether the presidential science advisory system will thrive during and after the Obama administration remains in doubt, however, since scientific issues generally are not accorded a high priority by the public.

Many friends and colleagues have contributed to the preparation of this book. Gerald Holton, as well as the late William Carey and William Golden, all encouraged my interest in science policy and its history. I am also grateful to Richard Atkinson for encouraging me to undertake this project in the first place. Darleen Fisher and Jennifer Bond gently (and often not so gently) nudged me to carry on when I became discouraged.

George Schillinger gave me a much needed and possibly decisive nudge when he reviewed three early draft chapters and insisted that I proceed.

David Beckler, Rita Colwell, John Gibbons, Neal Lane, Irving Lerch, Norman Neureiter, Rod Nichols, Tom Ratchford, and Al Teich provided useful reviews on earlier versions of the book’s chapters.

Portions of Chapters 2 and 5 were adapted for an article published in the first annual volume of the Journal of the Society for the History of the Federal Government, edited by Benjamin Guterman, who made useful suggestions which have been incorporated into these chapters. Lee Ann Potter, then-president of that society, also encouraged me to pursue my research and writing on this topic.

Edward David, Susie Bachtel, and Fred Beuttler have been kind enough to supply many of the photographs appearing in the book, as have the digital archivists at the American Institute of Physics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the Historian’s Office of the US House of Representatives, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman Presidential Libraries.

It has been a particular pleasure to collaborate on several projects with Tom Ratchford, a colleague for more than thirty years. In particular, we coauthored an article on science policy in the United States that was published in the 2005 UNESCO World Science Outlook, and a follow-up article published in 2010.

And finally, any errors, distortions, misrepresentations and the like should be attributed to me, rather than to any of the many individuals who have helped and supported me in this endeavor.

William A. Blanpied

December 2009

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, A history of federal science policy from the new deal to the present. OpenStax CNX. Jun 26, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11210/1.2
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