peared originally on the editorial and opinion pages of daily newspapers. They were distributed by the National Academy Op-Ed Service. Begun in 1983 under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, the Service provides more than 300 newspapers with timely articles by scientific and technical experts. The papers receive the weekly articles free with exclusive rights within their cities. Among those that have published stories from the service are The Atlanta Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Detroit News, The Houston Chronicle, The Miami Herald, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The wonderful cartoons and drawings in this volume were used by editors at subscribing newspapers. The artists and editors granted us permission to reprint the illustrations here.
The Op-Ed Service would not exist without the continued support and encouragement of the newspaper editors who have helped us bring these complex scientific and technical issues into the arena of public debate. We also are indebted to hundreds of study committee members, staff officers and others within the Academy who have shared their expertise and offered advice on story ideas. The entire staff of the Academy news office supports the Service in many ways. In particular, Stephen Push, director of the office, and Patricia Worns, the copy editor, played an invaluable role in producing the articles presented here.
Our greatest thanks is reserved for the authors, who took time out from busy schedules to prepare these articles without pay and under tight deadlines. Making the transition from scientific text to newspaper prose was not always easy, but it was made much smoother by authors whose prominence was matched by their patience, eloquence and genuine desire to reach out beyond the scientific community to the American public.