Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 518


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



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 517
16 The Academy in the Fifties Beginnings of the Space Age DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) Detlev Wulf Bronk, sixteenth President of the National Academy of Sciences, was born in New York City in ~89~. His ancestors gave their name to the Borough of the Bronx. He did his undergraduate work at Swarthmore, where he received his B.A. degree in two. For his graduate studies he attended the University of Michigan, which awarded him the Ph.D. degree in ~926. He then returned to Swarth- more as Assistant Professor of Physiology and Physics, becoming full professor in ~928 and Dean of Men in ~927-~929. He joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in ~929, where for twenty years he was Johnson Professor of Biophysics and Director of the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics. Concur- rently, he was Director, Institute of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, in ~ 93~ g4o and in ~ 942-~ 948, and, during ~ 940- ~94~, Professor of Physiology at Cornell University Medical College. His election to the Academy came in ~939. 517

OCR for page 517
518 / DETLEV WULF B.RONK (1950 - 1962) Detlev Wulf Bronk, President of the Academy, ~ gbo- ~ 962; Chairman of the National Research Council, ~946- ~ 950, ~ 954- ~ 962 (R. F. Carter photograph, courtesy the Rockefeller University). Detlev Bronk's scientific career began in 19zl, when as a graduate student at Michigan, he and two others published a paper that is a classic in infrared spectroscopy and contributed to the evidence for half-quantum numbers. During his tenure at Swarthmore, he was awarded an NRC fellowship and spent a year at Cambridge and London under A. V. Hill. His work with E. D. Adrian at the Univer- sity of London resulted in the first recording of electrical activity in single nerve fibers. He also worked with A. V. Hill on investigations of the heat produced by muscle activity. With this preparation he began the study of neurophysiology, which was his main field of research over the years. According to Milton 0. Lee, Bronk regards himself primarily as a physiologist; he regards physiology as the integration and synthesis of physics, chemistry, and mathematics in the study of life processes. He disclaims being a founder of the field of biophysics, pointing out that Galvani was a biophysicist two hundred years ago, but he has been foremost in establishing biophysics as a recognized disciplined His extraordinary talent for administration manifested itself during Milton O. Lee, "Detlev W. Bronk, Scientist," Science 113:143 (February 9, ~95~).

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties Beginnings of the Space Age I 519 World War II, when he became Coordinator of Research in the Office of the Army Air Surgeon, Chief of the Division of Aviation Medicine in the Committee on Medical Research of OSRD, and Special Consul- tant to the Secretary of War. At the same time he was Chairman of the NRC Committee on Aviation Medicine and its Subcommittee on Oxy- gen and Visual Problems, and member-at-large of the Division of Physical Sciences. In ~945 he was elected Foreign Secretary of the Academy and, with it, Chairman of the NRC Division of Foreign Relations. As OSRD wound up its operations in ~946, Academy President Jewett appointed Bronk Chairman of the National Research Council. That same year he was appointed to the U.S. Commission for UNESCO, to the Armed Force - NRc Vision Committee, to the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils, and to the editorial board of the Academy's Proceedings. In June ~947 he was named a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Brookhaven National Labora- tory, and, a few months later, of the Advisory Committee for biology and Medicine of the Atomic Energy Commission. As if these demands on his energy and capacity for involvement were not enough, in ~ 948 he accepted the presidency of Johns Hopkins University, succeeding Isaiah Bowman. In November Ago, the year he became President of the Academy, he was appointed to the Board of the recently established National Science Foundation and made Chairman of its Executive Committee. The next year he was elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.2 As President of the Academy, Bronk. was neither the emeritus type nor the virtually full-time President that Joel Hilde- brand had proposed at the meeting with the Committee on Nomina- tions.3 However, it is doubtful that any previous President of the Academy assumed a similar load of administrative activity. The Academy and the Research Council under Bronk responded to world events and their impact on science in a way that could have been only dimly anticipated by the founders of the Academy in 2 Ibid. Bronk was appointed to the Defense Science Board in the Department of Defense in ~6 and to the National Aeronautics and Snare (-,ouncil in 'asp. ~ _ _ _ .. . . .. . ~ . _ For li~ldebrand's proposal, see (;hapter ~5, p. 5~5. The Academy continued to reimburse`Johns Hopkins University for a portion of Bronk's salary, an arrangement begun when he assumed the chairmanship of the National Research Council in ~946. After Bronk left`lohns Hopkins in ~953 to assume the presidency of the Rockefeller Institute, these payments apparently were made to the Institute for an additional two years (NAS Archives: NAS: Officers: President: Bronk D W: Compensation: ~950-~962: ~96~; ibid., ORG: Chairman NRC: Bronk D W: Appointment: ~946).

OCR for page 517
520 / DETLEV WULF BROOK (195~1962) the previous century. It was said of the confidence and the vision he inspired that these qualities were those of "an abiding believer in the Baconian concept of the scientist as an 'Ambassador of Light'." The imagination of enterprise, of innovation, that he brought to the office of President gave new dimensions to the activities of the Academy.4 New Relationships between the Academy and the Research Council The long-standing question of the relations between the Academy and the National Research Council became Bronk's first order of business in the months after his election. Reluctant to reduce his involvement in the Research Council he had guided so successfully since ~946, Bronk, shortly before assuming the presidency, urged the Academy Council to give thought to a more intimate relationship between the two bodies. At the meeting of the Council on June ~ i, Ago, he "expressed his continued interest in the National Research Council" and his opinion that "it would be unfortunate to make a change in . . . [the Research Council chairmanship at a] time when the National Science Foundation" was being established. Reminding the Council of past conflicts between Presidents of the Academy and Chairmen of the Research Council, he suggested combining both offices in the presidency.5 Bronk pointed to the great surge of Research Council activities and prestige and warned the Council of the "danger . . . of the Academy becoming a distinguished but little known organization which oper- ates the Research Council." To counter this tendency he proposed "a more effective union," with a closer integration of the Academy sections with the divisions of the Research Council and the combina- tion of the Council of the Academy and the Executive Board of the Research Council into a single unit. (President Richards noted that the members of the Executive Committee of the Academy Council had been ex officio members of the Executive Board since ~9~5, but that their attendance at Board meetings had lansed.) Following con- ~ ~ , 4 Quotation from Saturday Review 40:44 (February 2, ~ 957). See also, "Resolution by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Detlev W. Bronk, ~897- ~ 975," attached to "Minutes of the Council," April 25, ~976. 5 "Minutes of the Council," June 2~, two. For Bronk's response to the Weed Report (Chapter ~4, pp. 469-470), see "Minutes of the Academy," April 27, ~948, pp. ~9, (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Meetings: Annual).

OCR for page 517
The AcademyintheFifties Beg2nningsof the Space Age / 521 siderable discussion, and with some reluctance, the Council accepted the principle of a closer relationship, but declined to approve specific measures without further consideration.6 The vigor of the Research Council under Bronk, his activity in the Academy, and the events surrounding his election to the presidency had given him, in effect, a mandate no previous President had possessed.7 Over the next several years, with Council approval but without recourse to a committee study or a change in the Research Council's Articles of Organization and Bylaws, he moved to effect his proposals.8 To allay the "confusion in the public mind" regarding the two bodies, Bronk adopted the terms "Academy-Research Council" and "NAS-NRC" as designations for the Research Council and its commit- tees. And, the Research Council's letterhead, which stated only that the Council had been organized by the Academy in ~9~6, was revised to indicate that the Academy continued to be the primary organiza- tion.9 More substantively, in September Ago, for the first time since ~9~9, the full Academy Council met with the Executive Board for the consideration of Research Council business. Meeting together for one day every six weeks, this combination of the Executive Board, com- prising the chairmen of the Research Council's divisions, and the Academy Council came to be known as the Governing Board of the National Research Council.~ 6 "Minutes of the Council," June 2 I, Ago; E. B. Wilson to Seitz, June ~3, ~8, and 30, ~964 (NAS Archives: ORG: Historical Data). The feasibility, and advantage, of making the President of the Academy also Chairman of the Research Council had been widely discussed following the misadven- ture of the Science Advisory Board, and the dual office was occupied from July ~935 to June ~936 by President Lillie. See correspondence in NAS Archives: E. B. Wilson Papers: W. W. Campbell, David White, F. E. Wright, ~93~-~933; NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Com on Nominations: ~ 934- ~ 935. For a retrospective look at Bronk's reasons for encouraging a closer relationship, see "Minutes of the National Academy of Engineering Meeting," June ~7, ~968, Appendix III. 7 On Bronk's election, see Chapter ~5, pp. 5~5-5~6. 8"Minutes of the Council," January 6, ~95~, and June ~4, ~95~. 9 Bronk's notes for his report at the autumn meeting of the Academy in ~gbo (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Meetings: Autumn); E. B. Wilson to Bronk, June 22, ~950 (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: General); "Minutes of the Council," June 6, ~ 95 ~ . JONAS, Ann~lRepo~for1950-51, pp.x, xii, Hi. The customary "Minutes of the .loint Meeting of the Council of the Academy and the Executive Board of the Research Council" after the meeting of June At, ~95 I, became the "Minutes of the Governing Board." The affairs of the Academy itself continued to be handled by the Council of the Academy alone.

OCR for page 517
522 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) In January ~95~, the first issue of the Academy-Research Council News Report appeared, a bimonthly publication intended to inform the Academy membership and almost three thousand other scientists across the nation of Academy-Research Council activities, new proJ- ects, and sponsored events such as symposia and conferences. "It will be the purpose of News Report," said Bronk, "to inform all those associated with the Academy and Council of our actions and our undertakings." During the period of transition, Douglas Whitaker, Stanford Dean of Graduate Studies, was appointed Bronk's successor as Chairman of the Research Council for a one-year term only, as he had requested; his successor, William W. Rubey of the U.S. Geological Survey, served as Chairman from ~95~ to ~954.~2 With the resignation of Rubey, Bronk assumed the duties of Chairman. Five years later, in ~959, the Council of the Academy formalized President Bronk's assumption of the chairmanship, expressing its satisfaction "with the present effec- tive and harmonious synthesis of all phases of the Academy and Research Council's activities." After Bronk left the presidency in ~96e, the Council of the Academy voted that thereafter "the Presi- dent of the National Academy of Sciences shall serve as Chairman of the National Research Council." Following World War I, the Academy and Research Council had established a relationship affected to some extent by fears within the Research Council of the Academy's conservatism and concern within the Academy over the Research Council's insistence on the necessity ~t NASNRC, News Rip - I: ~ JanuaryFebruary ~ 95 ~ ); NAS, Annual Repot for ~ 950 - 51, pp. xiii, ~ I. That Dr. Bronk had for sime time considered such a journal is evident in NAs,annual Reportfor 1947~8, p. no; "Minutes of the Academy," November ~7, ~947, pp. 46 - 48, April 27, ~948, pp. ~8 - 20 (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Meetings). In ~95 I, also, the Research Council's Bulletin series and its Reprint and Circular Series were replaced by numbered NAS-NRC publications ("Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Council of the Academy and the Executive Board of the Research Council," June 24, ~ 95 I; NAS, Annual Report for 1951-52, p. 48). t2 "Minutes of the Council," June 2 I, Ago; Appendix G. "Minutes of the Council," June ~4, ~959; October 6-7, ~962. Precognition of the more complete integration of Academy and Council activities appeared in the Executive Order signed by President Eisenhower on May lo, ~956 (reprinted here in Appendix F), amending the ~9~8 Executive Order, which asked the Academy to perpetuate the NRC. The new Order, sought by Eisenhower's staff to relieve him of the necessity of personally designating governmental members of the Council, in its final form included the suggestion of the Governing Board that the phrase "work accomplished by the Council" be changed to "work accomplished by the National Academy of Sciences through the Council" (NAS Archives: EXEC: EO'S & Directives: EO ~o668: Revision of EO 2859 re NRC: ~955-~956). .

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties Beginnings of the Space Age Douglas Whitaker, Chairman of the National Research Coun- cil, ~ gbo- ~ 95 ~ (Photograph courtesy the Rockefeller Uni- versity). William Walden Rubey, Chair- man of the National Research Council, ~ 95 ~ - ~ 954 (From the archives of the Academy). / 523

OCR for page 517
524 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) of close bonds with industry and government.~4 For all the parent- offspring friction during those years, however, the relationship though distant had been a fruitful one indispensable to both, enlarg- ing the horizons and capabilities of the Academy and ensuring the performance of Research Council operations with enhanced prestige. The new world that emerged from World War II found the Academy and Research Council alike challenged by exciting opportunities and sobered by the difficulties that lay ahead. Caryl P. Haskins, President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, later heralded the result- ing relationship as "one of the most significant 'structural' moves in the history of the Academy": It would seem that when Lincoln initiated the Academy and charged it with the mission of a scientific advisory body to government, the [advisory] function was very much in mind. Between that time and the years of the first World War, however, it is evident that the [Academy's honorific function] tended to predominate.... It was only when an era of major conflict supervened again in the time of the first World War that the earlier function of the Academy was reasserted and the creation of the National Research Council . . . took place. But if I understand the spirit of the post World-War I years correctly indeed, perhaps, of the years right down to the beginning of World War II, science-as culture and science-as implementer-of-national- affairs continued to be regarded as two distinct and separate things, to be handled . . . by two quite different bodies. These notions, of course, were largely dispelled by World War II even before the Korean war completed the disillusionment. By that time, I think, most of the country recognized that the two aspects of science represent in effect the extreme of a continuous spectrum, and that all parts of the spectrum are mutually interacting and dependent.l5 Guided by Bror~k's sure hand, the new association was effected without incident. The restructuring of the Academy contributed nothing, however, to settling the problem of space in the Academy building, which had become increasingly limited under the impact of the postwar years '4 W. A. Noyes to Gano Dunn, December 9, ~924, and Joseph S. Ames to Dunn, February ~2, ~925 (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Com on Relationship Between NAS & NRC: Selected Correspondence); Lawrence .1. Henderson, "Universities and Learned Societies," Science 59:477~78 (May 30, ~924). See also R. C. Tobey, The American Ideology of National Science, 1919-1930 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 7 I), pp ~67-~ 85 ~5 Caryl P. Haskins to Bronk, February 5, ~962 (NAS Archives: NAS: Presidency: Nature of Office: Consideration by Members).

OCR for page 517
The Academyin the Fifties Beg~nningsof the Space Age 1 525 and the growing membership. The Academy was then leasing office space in nine buildings in Washington and seeking more. The recur- ring question of whether to enlarge the Academy building by modify- ing the basic design or to add wings to the structure as originally contemplated was not resolved until ~959, when the Equitable Life Assurance Society made a gift of funds to the Academy for the west wing, the new space to be devoted primarily to the life sciences. Construction of that wing, begun in October ~ 960, was completed two years later.l7 Broadened Range of NAS-NRC Activities The "uneasy peace" in the world that had troubled Dr. Richards ended abruptly in June ~ gbo, just a month before Dr. Bronk formally took office, when North Korean troops crossed the line imposed by the United Nations along the Thirty-Eighth Parallel of that divided country. At once United Nations forces under Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur's command were airlifted from Japan. In November of that same year, when ~ 80,ooo Chinese Communist "volunteers" crossed the Manchurian border with Korea along the Yalu River, the United States returned to a war footing. The war did not end until July ~953, when an armistice was signed after more than two years of negotiations. On April ~5, ~95~, ten months after the invasion of South Korea, |6 The limitation on membership, set at 250 in ~9~5, was raised to 3so in ~937 and to 4so in 1OA 2 Friar the remove of ~nv limitation on tots mmmh~rehir~ q~1 1~' me increase from no to 2~ in the number of members elected each year, see NAS, Annual ~ 7~ ..~ A....~~~~ ~4 ~4 ~EVE_ ~AAAIJ~ C~11~ lCI.~1 ~ ~11 Report for 1949-50, p. 13; 1958-59, pp. 14-15. The three-year work of the Committee on Revision of the Constitution that culmi- nated in removal of the limitation moved E. B. Wilson to reprint in the NAS, Proceedings 36:277-292 (April 1950), the "Minutes" of the organization meeting of the Academy in 863 and the Academy's Constitution and Bylaws as first adopted. 17 On the problem of space, see NAS, Annual Report for 194647, p. 5, 194748, pp. 27-28; 194849, pp. 6, 19-20 et seq. For the subsequent construction, see NAS, Annual Report for 1958-59, pp. 1, 23; 1960~1, p. 38; brochure, The Academy Building: A History and Descriptive Guide (Wash- ington: NASNRC, 1971). When the administrative staff rose above 3so in Ago, the Academy authorized establishment of the NAS-NRC Employee Insurance Benefit Plan, adding group insur- ance, group hospitalization, and surgical benefits to the retirement and disability insurance in force since ~944 (NAS, Annual Report for 1949-50, p. 8; "Minutes of the Academy," April 25, ~ 950).

OCR for page 517
526 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) President Truman established an Office of Defense Mobilization under Charles E. Wilson, President of General Electric, as a policy planning and coordinating agency for the mobilization of the nation in current and future defense activities. At the same time, he created in that Office a Science Advisory Committee (SAC) under Oliver E. Buckley, physicist, Academy member, and President of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, in order to secure high-level policy advisers who would be available to Wilson and h mself for planning new research and development programs in the armed services and in other federal agencies. As had NDRC and OSRD a decade before, the Science Advisory Committee stated in its preliminary agenda its intention of "making more effective use of the National Academy and Research Council" in the defense effort.~9 Although it was inactive during the short re- mainder of Truman's Administration, under President Eisenhower "the committee grew rapidly in status and function . . . [and] evolved into the first scientific body to be located within the Executive Office with a charge that went beyond ad hoc purposes."20 "Helping tat that time] to prevent the scientific isolation from which the armed forces suffered following the First World War," said Bronk, were the thirty-eight contracts then under Academy-Research Council administration for ten federal agencies, many of them trans- ferred from OSRD, including the Committee on Undersea Warfare, an advisory board on quartermaster research, the medical advisory committees to the Surgeons General and the Veterans Administra- ~8 NAS, Annual Report for 1950-51, p. 2~; Truman to Buckley, April ~9, 1951 (NAS Archives: EXEC: ODM: SAC); Bronk, "Science Advice in the White House," Science 186:11~121 (October As, ~974). The ten-member Science Advisory Committee comprised Detlev Bronk, represent- ing the National Academy; William Webster, representing the Department of Defense's Research and Development Board; Alan Waterman, Director of the National Science Foundation; Hugh L. Dryden of NACA, representing the Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific Research and Development; and members-at-large lames B. Conant; Lee A. DuBridge; lames R. Killian; J. Robert Oppenheimer; Charles A. Thomas, President of Monsanto Chemical Company; and Robert F. Loeb, Bard Professor, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. Succeeding chairmen of SAC were Lee A. DuBridge, President of the California Institute of Technology ( ~ 952- ~ 956) and Nobel laureate I. I. Rabi ( ~ 956- ~ 957). ~9 SAC, "Agenda of 3-25-5~, revised 4-4-5~"; Buckley memorandum, "An Appraisal of Some Indicated Needs of Defense Research," December 3, ~95~ (NAS Archives: EXEC: ODM: SAC). For the upgrading of SAC, see pp. 552-553. 20 Committee on Science and Technology, Science and Technology in Presidential Policymaking: A Proposal (Washington: National Academy of Sciences, ~974), p. ~5.

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties~egannings of the Space Age 1 527 tion, an Armed Force - NRc vision committee, an advisory committee to the Coast Guard, and a number of the advisory committees to the Office of Naval Research.2t The activity under those contracts "in [the initial] period of accen- tuated national danger" at once expanded and accelerated as the Korean War presented "the Estill] greater danger of a worldwide war at an uncertain future date."22 The score or more committees and advisory boards assisting federal agencies were rapidly augmented by others requested by the Office of Defense Mobilization, the Depart- ment of Defense and the Research and Development Board, and the Navy Department. The value of government contracts rose by almost a third that year, to $3,gc8,ooo, as the Academy-Research Council administrative staff approach five hundreds How perilous those years of Cold War and imminent conflict seemed was made evident in the Committee on Disaster Studies requested in May ~95~ by the medical services of the Department of Defense and the Federal Civil Defense Administration, recently created in the President's Office for Emergency Management. In spite of two world wars, the United States had never experienced a sudden and catastrophic attack by enemy action, and very little was known about how the populace would react under such circum- stances. The Research Council was asked to coordinate a broad, nation- wide study to provide a basis for sound planning in the event of a major catastrophe. Calling on medical experts, engineers, and chemists, and with the counsel of representatives of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, the armed services, and the Department of Defense, the NRC set up the Committee on Disaster Studies in the Division of Anthropology and Psychology, its Chairman Carlyle F. Jacobsen, psychologist and medical educator at the State University of New York.24 Over the next two years the committee prepared a systematic bibliography on human behavior in disaster situations and a roster of 2~ NAS, Annual Reportfor 1948~9, pp. 3, 35, 43-44; 1949-5O, pp. 47, 65-66, 9~-99. "Greatly expanded and accelerated because of the national crisis," approximately three-quarters of Research Council activities were at that time advisory services to the government ("Minutes of the Academy," April 23, ~95~, and April 29, ~952). 22 NAS, Annual Report for 1950-51, ix, ~2; NAS Archives: ORG: Activities: Summary of Activities Supported Wholly or in Part by DOD or AEC: December ~954. 23 NAS, Annual Report for 1951-52, pp. 6, 4~, 57. For Bronk's reflections on the sense of peril at home and abroad in those troubled years, see Annual Report for 1953-54, pp. ~ -2. 24 NAS, Annual Report for 1951-52, pp. 6, 89.

OCR for page 517
554 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) of Killian and PSAC, created still another agency for formulating national science policy, the Federal Council for Science and Technol- ogy, to "promote closer cooperation among Federal agencies in plan- ning their research and development programs." The Federal Coun- cil, which was specifically authorized to consult with the Academy when appropriate, comprised his Special Assistant, Killian, and high- level representatives of the Departments of Defense; Interior; Ag- riculture; Commerce; Health, Education, and Welfare; the Director of NSF; Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Admin- istration; the Chairman of the AEC; the Science Advisor to the Secre- tary of State; and the Assistant Director of the Bureau of the Budget.89 In a world of seemingly tenuous equilibrium that called for accelerated scientific effort, such an organization of policymaking agencies seemed necessary and likely to endure. The immediate imperative of the President and his Advisory Committee was to determine responsibility for the future of the satellite program and the conduct of space exploration.90 Amid gen- eral agreement on a civilian rather than military agency, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota sponsored a bill designed to create a Cabinet-level department of science and technology.9~ Although the establishment of such a department was debated in of Physics, Harvard; Isidor I. Rabi, Professor of Physics, Columbia; H. P. Robertson, Professor of Physics, CIT; Paul A. Weiss, head of developmental biology, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research; Jerome B. Wiesner, Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT; Herbert York, Chief Scientist, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense; and ferrold R. Zacharias, Professor of Physics, MIT. Consultants were Hugh Dryden, Director, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics; Albert G. Hill, Research Director, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Department of Defense; Emanuel R. Piore, Director of Research, IBM; Herbert Scoville, Jr., Assistant Director, Central Intelligence Agency; and Alan T. Waterman, Director, National Science Founda- tion. [NAS Archives: EXEC: PSAC: ~958; Science 127:805 (April At, ~958)]. Succeeding Killian as the President's Science Adviser and PSAC Chairman were Kistiakowsky in ~959, Wiesner in ~96~, and in ~964 Donald F. Hornig, Chairman, Department of Chemistry at Princeton. 89 White House Press Release, March ~3, ~959, and Executive Order, March ~3, ~959 (NAS Archives: EXEC:FCST);NAS, AnnualReportfor 1959~0,p.~;A.HunterDupreein T:ame.s I. Penick et aL (eds.~. The Politics of American Science, pp. 227,23~. See Science 129:67, 85, 12~136, 886 January-April ~959). 90 Report of PSAC, March 26, ~ 958, "American 'Introduction to Outer Space' ," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 14: 18~189 (May ~ 958); NSF/NAS. Report on the IGY, pp. ~ 55 ff. 9~ Originally proposed by Humphrey three months before Sputnik and subsequently modified, the legislation before Congress was regarded with disapproval by many in the Academy, by the President's Special Assistant, Killian, and by the NSF because of its potential centralization of science. It was finally tabled. See J. S. Dupre and S. A. Lakoff, Science and the Nation: Policy and Politics (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties~eginnings of the Space Age 1 555 Congress for over a year, and as in the preceding century finally rejected as unfeasible, both the question of a science department and the space problem had really been resolved. Under Presidential aegis, PSAC and the Federal Council provided all the authority needed for the coordination of the government's science programs. As for space, President Eisenhower conferred with his Special Assistant, James Killian, who, with the counsel of Alan T. Waterman of NSF, Bronk of the Academy, and Hugh Dryden, Director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), proposed NACA as the nucleus of a new space agency. The President agreed, Congress approved; and on October I, ~958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came into being, its Administrator T. Keith Glennan, then President of Case Institute of Technology, and its Deputy Adminis- trator Hugh Dryden.92 Bronk anticipated the outcome of the legislation, as well as ~csu plans for continuing space research; and in the late spring of ~958, at the urging of the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Commit- tee for IGY, he appointed a Space Science Board under Lloyd V. Berkner "to survey the scientific problems, opportunities and implica- tions of man's advance into space." More immediately, it was to provide advice on extension of the rocket and satellite work for IGY and on the objectives and programs of space science to the govern- ment, to NASA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the Department of Defense, and to NSF. It would also maintain liaison as Prentice-Hall, Inc., ~962), pp. 69-73, ~62-~63; NAS Archives: CONG: Bills: Science & Technology Act of ~958. Lloyd Berkner's "Federal Department of Science and Technology," appeared in NSFINAS. Report on the ICY. See also U.S. Congress, Senate, Establishment of a Commission on a Department of Science and Technology, 86th Cong., fist sees., Senate Report 408, June ~8, 1959 (copy in NAS Archives: CONG: Bills: Establishment of a Commission on Department of Science and Technology); Science 129: 126~1266 (May 8, ~959); H. H. Humphrey, "The Need for a Department of Science," Annals of AAPSS 327:27-35 (January ~960); Dael Wolfle, "Government Organization of Science," Science 131:1407-1417 (May ~3, ~960); A. Hunter Dupree, "Central Scientific Organization in the United States Government," Minerva 1:453~69 (Summer ~963); Herbert Roback, "Do We Need a Department of Science and Technology?" Science 165:36 43 (July 4, 1969). 92 For the congressional testimony on space research leading to NASA, and the PSAC report to Eisenhower, Introduction to Outer Space (Washington: Government Printing Office, ~958), see NAS Archives: CONG: Coms: Space & Astronautics: Hearings: National Aeronautics & Space Act: ~958; EXEC: PSAC: Introduction to Outer Space: ~958; Dupre and Lakoff, Science and the Nation, pp. ~62-~63; A. Hunter Dupree, `'The Challenge to Dr. Killian," Tech Engineering News (January ~959), pp. 2~-23, 58; A. H. Dupree in Penick et al., The Politics of American Science, pp. 223-228.

OCR for page 517
556 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) the representative of U.S. space research with ~csu's new Committee for Space Research (COSPAR), organized that October.93 Within a year, a committee appointed by the Board at the request of NASA launched studies in the problems of interplanetary probes and space stations, their objectives Venus and Mars; and the Board itself had begun discussions of "the problems in the detection of extra- terrestrial life."94 Prior to organization of its Committee for Space Research, ~csu had established in August ~ 957 a Special Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR); in February ~958 another for Antarctic Research (SCAR); and also an International Geophysics Committee (C~G).95 Their correlative and cooperating committees in the Academy-Research Council were the Committee on Oceanography appointed (as previously related) in July ~957,96 and the Committee on Polar Research in February ~ 958 .97 Still another -related committee in the Academy was that on Meteorology, set up in December ~955 and renamed the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences in ~958.98 And in ~960 Dr. Bronk appointed a Geophysics Research Board. Those appointed to the new Board were the Chairmen of the Space Science Board and of the Committees on Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, and Polar Research; the Chairmen and one additional representative each from the U.S. National Committees for four international unions of science those in astronomy, geodesy and geophysics, physics, and scientific radio; the Chairman of the U.S. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year; and several members-at-large.99 93 NAS, Annual Report for 1957-5S, pp. 2, 5, 7~-72; 1958-59, pp. 8~-83 et seq.; "Space Science Board: Research in Space," Science 130:195-202 (July 24, ~959); NAS Archives: AG&Depts: National Space Establishment: Proposed: ~957; PS: Space Science Board: General; ORG: NAS: Space Science Board: General: ~958. See also Academy publication, U.S. Space Science Program: Report to COSPAR (Washington: NA0NRC, ~960). 94 NAS, Annual Report for 1958-59, p. 83. 95 NAS, Annual Report for 1958-59, pp. 92-93; 1959~0, pp. 84-88. 96 MS NAS, "Annual Report for ~956-57," p. 422; "~957-58," pp. 2-3, 5, 39, etseq.; and Chapter ~5, pp. 504-506. 97 NAS, Annual Report for 1957-58, pp. 68-69 et seq.; Symposium, Antarctica in the ICY (NASNRC Publication 462, ~956). 98 NAS, Annual Reportfor 1957-58, p. 67; NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Com on Meteorology: ~958. A report by the Committee on Meteorology on research and education in that field (NAS-NRC Publication 479) led in ~960 to the establishment by NSF of its National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). See U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, The National Science Foundation: A General Review of Its First 15 Years. 88th Cong., ~ st sees., ~ 965, pp. ~ ~9, ~ 23- ~ 24. 99 NAS,Annual Reportfor 1960-61, pp. ~ '2-' ~4; Ad Hoc Com. on Post- Problems of Geophysics, October 2 7, ~ 957; Cornell to Director, NSr, November I, ~ 960 (NAS

OCR for page 517
The AcademyintheFifties Beganningsof the Space Age / 53~7 All these -inspired elements were to contribute vast quantities of information to the World Data Center set up by the Academy with Hugh Odishaw as its Executive Director just prior to the start of the IGY in ~957. As one of the three data centers set up during the IGY, it cooperated with similar centers in the USSR and in Western Europe, the latter center also directing branches in Australia and Japan.~ The intrinsic and extrinsic accomplishments of"the international {GY" had been unprecedented, chief among them "a vast increase in international co-operation in science; the transformation of earth science into planetary science; Ethel example of how international relations can be amiably and fruitfully conducted."~~ So much had been accomplished, yet so much remained to be done that the Year was officially extended another twelve months, as the International Geophysical Cooperation, ~ 959. ~02 Unofficially, the acquisition and verification of data and the prepa- ration of reports continued well beyond that final formal year. The Academy's new Geophysics Research Board was made responsible for the World Data Center and publication of the ICY Bulletin. i3 The U.S. National Committee, briefly recessed in ~96~, continued active until May ~ 964 when Frederick Seitz, then President of the Academy, and Past President Detlev Bronk, notified some two hundred key participants of the discharge of the U.S. National Committee for IGY. ~04 Archives: ORG: NAS: Geophysics Research Board: General: Igloo; see also ORG: NAS: GRB: Governing Board Agenda Item: October 9, ~960. 100 NAS, Annual Report for 1957-58, pp. 3, 8~; 1958-59, p. 93. For the indefinite extension of its operations, see NAS Archives: C&B: GRB Panels: International Exchange of Geophysical Data: ~ 962. To advise on problems of recording, storage, and retrieval of scientific information and data, the Academy established an Office of Documentation in May ~959 (NAS, Annual Reportfor 1959~0, pp. 78-79 et seq.; NAS Archives: GOV Bd: Advisory Board on Information & Documentation on Science: Proposed: ~958). ''J. Tuzo Wilson, I.G.Y.: The Year of the New Moons (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 6~), p. 320. 102 NAS, Annual Report for 1958-59, pp. 89-90; 1959-60, pp. 84-85. 'SNAs,AnnualReportforl960-61, pp. ~3-~4;1961-62, pp. ~26-~27. The NAS IGY Bulletin, first appearing as an insert in the AGU Transactions, ran from No. I, July ~957, to No. 96, May ~965. See MS NAS, "Annual Report for ~956-57," p. 444; NAS Archives: GOV Bd: Com on Relations of AGU with us National Committee for IGY-. ~ 957-58. ~4 NAS, Annual Report for 1959-60, p. 84; 1960~1, p. ~ ~8 et seq., Seitz to Leland l. Haworth, Director of NSF, May 26, ~964 (NAS Archives: IR: IGY: US National Committee: End of Program).

OCR for page 517
558 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) Project Mohole . As scientifically imaginative and technologically rigorous as the space program launched during the IGY was the deep-sea drilling venture known as Project Mohole. It had its origin at a meeting in March 1957 of the Earth Science Panel of the National Science Foundation. Panel member Walter Munk, University of California oceanographer, dis- mayed that none of the projected research before the panel looked forward to a major advance comparable to the physicists' and en- gineers' planned leap in space, suggested a drilling project of compa- rable magnitude, a plan to penetrate and sample the earth's mantle. Harry H. Hess, Chairman of Princeton's Geology Department and also on the panel, supported Munk's proposal enthusiastically.~05 The project, still only an idea, was brought up a month later at Munk's home in La Jolla, California, at a gathering of the American Miscellaneous Society, or AMSOC for short, a convivial group con- ceived five summers before at the Office of Naval Research by geophysicists Gordon Lill and Carl O. Alexis while sorting over research proposals that defied recognized categories and ended in a precarious miscellany. Joined informally by other congenial scientists on the Washington scene, the Society met, as the spirit moved, to talk of professional matters and share pleasantries. At the AMSOC meeting at La Jolla the project was endorsed highly. On April 27, ~957, at a meeting at the Cosmos Club in Washington, an AMSOC committee was organized to attempt to put the program into action. Under Gordon Lill, the committee included Academy members William W. Rubey of the Geological Survey, Scripps Di- rector Roger R. Revelle, American Geophysical Union President Maurice Ewing, Hess, and Munk. Other members were Carl Alexis of the Office of Naval Research and Harry S. Ladd and Joshua I. Tracey of the Geological Survey. ~06 With outer space and the ocean depths spoken for, Project Mohole |05 Hess was then Chairman of the Research Council's Division of Earth Sciences, which would include a new Committee on Oceanography that July. i06 Hess, "The AMSOC Project to Drill a Hole to the Mohorovicic Discontinuity," December ~957 (NAS Archives: ES: AMSOC Project: Proposed). Later accounts, often conflicting with Hess's December ~957 paper, are found in Hess, "The Amsoc Hole to the Earth's Mantle," American Scientist 48:254-263 (June ~960); Gordon Lill and Willard Bascom, "A Bore-Hole to the Earth's Mantle: AMSOC'S Mohole," Nature 184: 14~144 (July ~8, ~959); Bascom, "The Mohole," Scientific Ameri- can 200 :41~9 (April ~ 959); Daniel S. Greenberg, The Politics of Pure Science, PP ~ 7 ~-208.

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties~egannings of the Space Age 1 559 AMSOC Committee members who supervised Project Mohole, the deep-sea drilling . venture. Left to right: Harry Ladd, Leonard S. Wilson, Harry Hess, Arthur Maxwell, Joshua Tracey, Linn Hoover, Gordon G. Lill (chairman), Edward B. Espenshade, Willard Bascom, William R. Thurston, Capt. Harold E. Saunders, William B. Heroy, lames R. Balsley, and Lt. Col. George Colchagoff (From the archives of the Academy). _ intended an assault on the last frontier by the drilling of a hole through the earth's crust at points beneath the oceans where it is thinnest to sample the underlying mantle of rock that makes up 84 percent of the earth's volume.~07 The boundary between crust and mantle is known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity in honor of the Yugoslav seismologist Andrija Mohorovitic, whose observations of the seismic waves from the Croatian earthquake of agog led him to postulate the existence of the discontinuity. The drilling would be done in the oceans where the Moho becomes accessible at depths of thirty thousand to thirty-five thousand feet below sea level. On land it would have been nearly one hundred thousand feet, in temperatures too high for drilling equipment. A truly pioneering project, Mohole promised, with even minimal success, a better determination of the age of the earth, its history and internal constitution, of the distribu- tion of elements, and new insight into theories of continental drift. At a meeting of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics in Toronto in September ~957, Hess, Revelle, and British geophysicist T. F. Gaskell jointly sponsored and obtained approval of a resolution urging international cooperation in feasiblity studies of the project. A Russian scientist at the meeting announced his own country's interest in a similar undertaking. The sponsor of the project, for which initial NSF funds of $~s,ooo i07 Not entireIv new. the idea had heen earlier suggested by Frank B. Estabrook in his _ ~ 7 "Geophysical Research Shaft," Science 124:686 (October 12, ~956).

OCR for page 517
560 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~962) were approved, became the Academy-Research Council when in April ~958, with Academy assent, the AMSOC committee of fourteen, with Gordon Lill its chairman, was made a full-fledged unit of the Divison of Earth Sciences. ~8 By late ~959 the AMSOC committee was ready to test its speculations. A converted Navy freighter barge, equipped with experimental deep-water drilling gear recently developed for the petroleum indus- try, had been positioned over the drilling site, fixed by four huge outboard motors, with the ship's heading monitored by Sperry gyrocompasses. The rig was first tested successfully in 3,ooo feet of water off La Jolla in ~ 960 and then moved near Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Mexico, to develop engineering data and deep-sea drilling experience and to make final tests and modifications for the eventual drill to the Moho.~09 There, in sight of the Mexican coast, in April ~96~, the project achieved a spectacular success, proving possible the drilling of a hole in earth beneath water at- least twelve thousand feet deep, almost thirty times the maximum ever previously achieved. It indicated that the ultimate goal was realistic and attainable.~ At the point where contracts were to be let for construction of the huge buoyant drilling platform necessary for the next stage of opera- tions, the Academy turned the project over to the NSF; and the Foundation, for the first time since its organization, assumed opera- tional responsibility for a scientific program. The responsibility for ensuing events, however, became highly controversial as differences arose between the AMSOC committee and the NSF on the direction and objectives of the project and AMSOC'S interest in an extensive inter- mediate program of sedimentation research.' In addition, there was the hotly debated question of the choice of the prime contractor for the platform. Nor was Congress amenable in ~963 to a funding estimate for the next three years of Project Mohole amounting to "about $68 million," or to the subsequent agreement of the NSF, its National Science Board, and the Bureau of the Budget on a total cost figure of $47.4 million through fiscal year ~967.~2 lox NAS, Annual Reportfor 1957-58, p. 42; 1958-59, pp. 42-43; NSF/NAS. Report on the IGY, pp. 93-94; The National Science Foundation: A General Review of Its First 15 Years, pp. 8s-~os. '09 William E. Benson, NSF Program Director for Earth Sciences, "Drilling Beneath the Deep Sea," Smithsonian Institution, Annual Reportfor 1961, pp. 397-4O3; NAs, Annual Report for 1959-60, pp. 43-44. A NAS, Annual Report for 1960~1, pp. 2 ~-22, 68-69. I" Philip Abelson, "Deep Earth Sampling," Science 162:623 (November 8, ~968). in NAS, Annual Report for 1961-62, p. 68; 1962-63, p. 63; The National Science Founda-

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties Beginnings of the Space Age / 56 1 cuss I, the deep-sea drilling ship that participated in the Academy's experimental drilling program during March ~ 96 I, near Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Mexico, as part of Project Mohole (National Science Foundation photograph). In January 1964, upon the appointment by NSF of Gordon Lill as Mohole Project Director, the Academy discharged its AMSOC commit- tee and established new Advisory Committees on Site Selection and on Scientific Objectives for the Mohole Project. Despite the counsel bon: A General Review of Its First 15 Years, pp. ~6-20, ~02, cod; Herbert Solow, "How NSF Got Lost in Mohole," Fortune (May ~963), pp. ~38- ~4 I, ~ 98-209. 1l, NAS, Annual Report for 1963-64, p. 65; The National Science Foundation: A General Review of Its First 15 Years, p. go.

OCR for page 517
562 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (1950 - 1962) Roger Revelle (right) and fellow scientists examining a core sample from the ocean bottom during Project Mohole test drilling (Photograph by Fritz Goro, Time-Life Picture Agency). of the Academy committees, indecision continued over whether to build an intermediate or ultimate ship platform for the project, whether to commence with a thorough exploration of the earth's crust or to drill at once an ultradeep hole to the mantle. Still other problems, organizational and political, added to the growing confu- sion in the undertaking. In August ~966, Congress disapproved the NSF funds budgeted for the project, and the Foundation asked the Academy-Research Coun- cil to terminate its activities on behalf of the program. In December the two advisory committees of the Academy were dissolved.~4 An i~4 NAS, Annual Report for 196667, p. ~ ~4; NAS Archives: ES: AMSOC Com: Mohole

OCR for page 517
The Academy in the Fifties Beginnings of the Space Age I 563 ill-fated venture after its initial success, Project Mohole, though it had not delivered a single fragment of upper mantle rock, was neverthe- less intrinsically sound and scientifically important.~5 And as the Chairman of the Academy Research Council Division of Earth Sciences said, there was no question that the hole would be drilled, "if not now, later, and if not by us, by the USSR." The Challenge of the Space Age As a result of its activities in World War II, the Academy experienced a greater change in the decade and a half that followed than in all the years together since its founding. The reorganization and expansion of science in the federal government in the postwar years was re- flected in the restructuring and revitalization of the Academy serving the new science. "These are not times in which to be complacent," Dr. Bronk had said in his report of ~ 954 as the Cold War settled in and the International Geophysical Year approached, and the Academy reacted to the energizing effect of those events on science and the nation: "The activities of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council are becoming so numerous and diverse that they cannot be adequately described in a document that is reasonably brief. . . ,'ll7 The membership, staff, and expenditures of the Academy in that period reflected the expanding role of science in government. From 349 in ~ 945, the membership rose to 592 in ~ 960; that of the Research Council from 2~ to e66, with, in ~960, a committee and board membership totaling several thousand. The Academy's professional, Project: General; ibid., ES: Coms Advisory to NSF: Mohole Project: General. The Mohole Project comprises f~fty-four feet of archival material. For a summary of the project and its still "reasonable prospects for proceeding," see Daniel S. Greenberg, "Mohole: The Project That Went Awry," Science 143:115-119, 223-227, 23~237 (January ~964); also T. H. van Ardel, "Deep-Sea Drilling for Scientific Purposes: A Decade of Dreams," Science 160:1419-1424 (June z9, ~968). "5 Gordon Lill and Willard Bascom, "A Bore-Hole to the Earth's Mantle: AMSOC'S Mohole," Nature 184: 14~144 Duly ~ 8, ~ 959); Seitz, "Statement before Subcommittee on Independent Offices, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate," June ~3, ~966 (NAS Archives: AG&DeptS: NSF: Mohole Project: Future Status); Linn Hoover, Executive Secretary of the Research Council's Division of Earth Sciences during Phase I of Mohole, "A Twist-Off in Mohole," Geotimes 11: 11 (November ~966). ~6], Hoover Makin to Seitz, June 6, ~966 (NAS Archives: AG&DeptS: NSF: Mohole Project: Future Status). See also Greenberg, The Politics of Pure Science, p. ~7~, note. ~37 NAS, Annual Reportfor 1953-54, p. I.

OCR for page 517
564 / DETLEV WULF BRONK (195~1962) executive, and secretarial staff (which had numbered 48 in 19~9), grew from 186 to 643 between ~946 and 1960.~8 The total expenditures of the Academy and the Research Council in 1945-1946 had amounted to a then unprecedented $2,731,000, representing $ 1,48g,ooo in government contracts, $ 1,oog,ooo for studies and projects, and the balance for administrative expenses.~9 Increasing steadily until 1956-~957, when they reached $7,83g,ooo, Academy expenditures almost doubled in the post-Sputnik years, rising to $14,725,000 in 1960, of which $10,446,000 represented government contracts, $2,70g,000 studies and projects, and finally a relatively stable figure, administrative expenses of $1,570,~00.~2 In the chaotic state of the postwar world, science, long on the periphery of government, was now an acknowledged national re- source and science policy a national imperative. Its initial recognition as national resource, set forth in Vannevar Bush's Science, the Endless Frontier in ~ 945 and in the Steelman report, Science and Public Policy, in ~947, took legislative shape in the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Office of Naval Research in ~946, the science- oriented reorganization of the Department of Defense in ~947- ~ 949, the establishment of the National Science Foundation in two, of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in ~958, and the restructuring of the National Bureau of Standards authorized in ~960. The array of Presidential advisory committees and councils, heavily weighted with members of the Academy, which counseled these new or reoriented science elements in the federal establishment, measured the revolution that had occurred in the relation of govern- ment to science in less than two decades. Anticipating the new role of science in government, Bronk had reestablished the authority of the Academy and new directions for its Research Council as the operating arm of the Academy. As Chairman of the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation and a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, he linked the Academy with the scientific community and the federal science programs. The Cold War and progress of science that brought about the closer relationship also brought an increase in the responsi- bility of the Academy as adviser to the government. 't~ NAS Archives: NAS-NRC, Organization & Members pamphlets; Telephone Directories. ~9 NAS, Annual Reportfor 1945~6, p. 84. ~20 NAS, Annual Reportfor 1957-58, p. 94; 1959-60, p. ~ o6. ~2~ See Warren Weaver, A Great Agefor Science (New York: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, ~ 96 ~ ); National Science Foundation, Investing in Scientific Progress, 1961 -1970 : Concepts, Goals, and Projections (Washington: ~ 96 ~ ).