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The President needs help!

—Louis Brownlow, 1937

In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

—Dwight Eisenhower, January 17, 1961

The shock of sputnik

As has been recounted by several of the principal participants, See, e.g., David Z. Beckler, “The Precarious Life of Science in the White House,” in Gerald Holton and William A. Blanpied eds., Science and Its Public: The Changing Relationship (Dordrecht and Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1976), 115-34. an October 15, 1957, meeting with the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Office of Defense Mobilization had been on President Eisenhower’s calendar for weeks when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik on October 4. Within days, Congress, the press, and the public were raising serious questions about the adequacy of U.S. science, technology and education. According to Donald Hornig, later science advisor to President Lyndon Johnson, “the degree to which the press and public reacted was totally unexpected and showed an unanticipated understanding of the relation between scientific and technological stature and world power.” Donald Hornig, “The President’s Need for Science Advice: Past and Future,” in William T. Golden ed., Science Advice to the President (New York: Pergamon Press, 1980), 43.

“Our name was mud,” recounted I.I. Rabi, Nobel Laureate in Physics at Columbia University and part-time Chairman of SAC/ODM. I.I. Rabi, “The President and his Scientific Advisers” in Golden, op. cit ., 22. “I advised him [the president] in the presence of the committee that what he needed was a man whom he liked, who would be available full time to work with him right in his office, to help by clarifying the scientific and technological aspects of the decisions which must be made from time to time. He would be part of his brain, so to speak. President Eisenhower readily agreed.” James R. Killian carried Rabi’s proposal one step further by urging “that there be a strong Science Advisory Committee reporting directly to the President who could back up his Adviser.” James Killian, “The Origins and Uses of a Scientific Presence in the White House,” in Golden, op. cit ., 29.

Danish Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr accepting the Atoms for Peace Award from President Dwight Eisenhower ca. 1958. Left to right, Lewis Strauss, Arthur Compton, Bohr, Eisenhower, and James Killlian, Jr. Courtesy of the Niels Bohr Archives, AIP Segre Visual Archives.

Eisenhower was quick to react. In a November 7 nationwide broadcast, he announced Killian’s appointment as his full-time Special Assistant for Science and Technology—a position that became commonly known as the Presidential Science Advisor. On November 27, he announced the reconstitution of SAC/ODM and its re-designation as the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), consisting solely of non-government scientists and chaired by the president and his science advisor. With the creation of PSAC, the scientific community received what it had long sought: special access to the president.

Questions & Answers

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
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.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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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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