bomb—and in industry.1 As Vannevar Bush wrote in the 1945 report Science: The Endless Frontier:

We all know how much the new drug, penicillin, has meant to our grievously wounded men on the grim battlefronts of this war—the countless lives it has saved—the incalculable suffering which its use has prevented. Science and the great practical genius of this nation made this achievement possible.

Some of us know the vital role which radar has played in bringing the United Nations to victory over Nazi Germany and in driving the Japanese steadily back from their island bastions. Again it was painstaking scientific research over many years that made radar possible.

What we often forget are the millions of pay envelopes on a peacetime Saturday night which are filled because new products and new industries have provided jobs for countless Americans. Science made that possible, too.2

With the value of the partnership clearly demonstrated during wartime, this set up a model for the postwar future.

The model was harnessed to both civilian and military goals in the post–World War II era. Bush proposed, in Science: The Endless Frontier, a new partnership to achieve economic growth, national security, and the public health. Through this partnership, basic research would be increasingly funded by the federal government and largely concentrated in the nation’s research universities.

This partnership gradually emerged over the next 15 years, encompassing a range of federal agencies and an increasing number of public and private research universities. The federal government science establishment expanded through the creation of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the expansion of the National Institutes of Health, the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the “Space Race,” the research and development programs of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce (National Institute for Standards and Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). At the same time, university research expanded. For example, from 1958 to 1968, academic research and development (R&D)

image

1 Hugh Davis Graham and Nancy Diamond, The Rise of American Research Universities: Elites and Challengers in the Postwar Era. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, p. 28.

2 Vannevar Bush, Science: The Endless Frontier. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/about/history/nsf50/vbush1945.jsp (accessed September 16, 2011).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement