in calculations of gravitational collapse, supernova explosions, stellar pulsations, nucleosynthesis, equations of state of dense matter, and stellar opacity, as well as in observing x-ray and gamma-ray sources.
The DOE appreciates the interaction between different areas of fundamental research and the impossibility of knowing a priori the directions in which pure research will lead. As a response to a number of scientific developments in the 1980s, the Directorate of High-Energy and Nuclear Physics has informed this committee that in the 1990s it will consider supporting astrophysical research that is related to its mission of seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of matter and energy and the basic forces that exist between the fundamental constituents of matter.
Some of the basic research and technology programs at the Department of Defense (DOD) make essential contributions to astronomical research. Examples include astrometry and optical interferometry at the U.S. Naval Observatory, development of space instrumentation by the Naval Research Laboratory, innovations in infrared detector technology by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and cryogenic and adaptive optics technologies developed as a result of the Strategic Defense Initiative. New opportunities exist for synergism between astronomical research and the nation 's defense needs. The committee believes that these opportunities should be exploited.
The education of young people is the foundation for future scientific and technical advances. Thus the committee begins its discussion of policy issues with a discussion of an educational initiative in astronomy.
The nation's colleges and universities are training too few Americans in science, engineering, and mathematics (A Nation at Risk; NCEE, 1983). In a world in which technical skills and quantitative reasoning are increasingly important, the nation needs more individuals with scientific knowledge in order to improve the quality of daily life and to help secure our economic competitiveness. Too few American students enter college with an adequate background in science and mathematics and with the intention of pursuing scientific careers. Of those entering college with an initial interest in science, too many ultimately obtain degrees in other areas, exacerbating the problem. Unless current trends are reversed, our nation will soon suffer a critical shortage of trained individuals who can take advantage of opportunities for scientific discovery or for technical innovation. As astronomers, the committee is committed to helping solve this national problem.
Television and the popular press expose young people to many challenges in business, law, and medicine but usually fail to present the exciting opportunities in science and technology. As discussed in Chapter 8, astronomy has a special