Science came into Guy Stever s life as a pure and peaceful pursuit. It was only later, as he walked through the wreckage of wartime London that he began to see science as central to a desperate struggle to survive.
Past president of Carnegie Mellon University, former Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force, one-time Director of the National Science Foundation, professor at MIT for 20 years, member of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, and science advisor to two presidents Guy Stever was a central figure in twentieth century science consistently on the front lines, changing the fate of a nation.
In this thoughtful and candid memoir, Stever recounts an extraordinary life that reveals as much about the man as about the major scientific and technological events of his day. Born of humble origins and orphaned at an early age, Stever journeyed from a small town in New York to work alongside British comrades who were developing and refining the critical radar technology that was to turn the tide of the war against the Germans. As a technical intelligence officer, these harrowing wartime years took him from the beachheads of Normandy to the German slave-labor factories responsible for building the V-2 rockets.
Stever returned home committed to serving his country. He became intimately involved in America s nascent guided missile program and was to remain a key player in the anti-ballistic missile defense program that heralded the era of the Cold War. As the decades passed, Stever continued to exert lasting influence on countless scientific endeavors. He was instrumental in the formation of new institutions, from the creation of NASA in the post-Sputnik years to the merging of Carnegie Tech and the Mellon Institution, giving birth to Carnegie Mellon University. As Presidential Science Advisor to both Nixon and Ford, Stever shaped the very structure of contemporary presidential science advising. And he was to chair the oversight committee that redesigned the space shuttle boosters after the Challenger explosion.
Guy Stever s life offers remarkable insight into the twentieth century. Through his eyes, we relive the history of the past 50 years, witnesses to a tale of science and technology that is revealing in its scope and sweep.
National Research Council. In War and Peace: My Life in Science and Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.
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"There is an undeniable bond between science and government in our nation. Guy Stever's memoir shows us how both endeavors have become stronger and more effective through the advisory role he helped define. I count myself as fortunate to have had someone as remarkably wise, talented, and well informed on presidential science issues as Guy to advise me during my years in the White House."
-- President Gerald R. Ford
"[Stever] is diplomatic, low-key, extremely persuasive, and fundamentally a nice guy. ... I enthusiastically recommend In War and Peace to everyone with any interest in public policy or in the machinations of American government. Apart from being a treasure trove of information, it is extremely well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
-- D. Allan Bromley, Yale University, in Physics Today, June 2003
"Guy Stever gives news meaning to 'been there, done that.'"
-- The Gazette, December 25, 2002
"...an intimate look at a man who helped shape scientific policy for the better part of the 20th century."
-- Science News, January 18, 2002
"...we're fortunate to have [Stever's] first-person account. ... Its strengths are its panoramic scope and straightforward narration, reflecting the author's experience and personality. Stever does not go in for deep reflection on the meaning and context of his life or the rights and wrongs of history. He leaves that task to the reader, and perhaps that is as it should be."
-- Chemical & Engineering News, March 24, 2003
"With its conversational style, personal warmth, and in-depth history, In War and Peace is a firsthand account of growth and achievement and a compelling look at science policy in the making. Like Guy Stever, readers will be satisfied. And mighty impressed."
-- Presidents' Club Newsletter, Colgate University, January 17, 2003
"It is no accident that Guy Stever's personal memoir of his career as a scientist and engineer is also a chronicle of the ascendancy of the United States to a world leadership position in science and technology over the past 50 years. Stever was a central figure in the three institutions that made this happen: the research university, industry, and government. However, this book, one of the best of its genre, is more than an insider's view of important people, events, and organizations. It is an engrossing story of growing up in a golden age of science by one of America's most admired scientists."
-- Frank Press, President emeritus, U.S. National Academy of Sciences
"Guy Stever's mastery of the art of science advising is on display here. As he counsels, 'the best science and technology, expressed as forcefully as possible and fitted honestly to the audience.' Potential advisers and advisees as well as anyone interested in science policy should read this book."
-- George P. Shultz, Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution and Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
"This is a highly personalized and entertaining account of scientists on the front lines. Guy Stever was instrumental in developing the institutions and relationships that have come to define America as a force in science and engineering."
-- Sheila Widnall, Institute Professor and Prof. of Aeronautic and Astronautics, MIT and Vice President, NAE