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nuclear physics, which involves the most fundamental aspects of nature and is not directly focused on societal issues. If one examines the contributions outlined above, three threads running through them can explain this result. First, the techniques of nuclear physics are relevant to many of our national problems. Second, the broad training and team experience of many students in nuclear physics provide the background that allows them to confidently and fruitfully apply nuclear techniques in many settings. And third, the varied properties of nuclei, and their radiations, lend themselves to the remarkably broad range of specific applications discussed in this chapter.
It is appropriate to ask whether these contributions are likely to continue. The impact of basic research is hard to predict, but it can lead to profound and revolutionary developments, the case of nuclear fission being an outstanding example. Many of the items discussed above seem likely to have still greater importance in the future, and new applications will certainly arise from new technical developments in nuclear physics. One can anticipate continued growth in the role of nuclear physics in generating applications that contribute to society.