Click for next page ( 52

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 51
Opening Remarks John Cadogan Director General, Research Councils of the United Kingdom, for the U.K. Presidency of the European Union Dr. Cadogan began his address with the observation that the large and distin- guished group of scientists, engineers, and industrialists in attendance highlighted the interest in scientific collaboration on both sides of the Atlantic. Although this underscores the economic importance of science and technology, Dr. Cadogan implored conference participants not to forget curiosity-driven science. He noted that even though directed research programs can create great wealth and prosper- ity, the role of the individual pursuing his or her research for the sake of advanc- ing knowledge must not be overlooked. There must be unfailing support for di- rected research, but it is also important to shine light on curiosity-driven inquiry. No committee, no government, no board of directors, and no civil servant ever made a discovery, Dr. Cadogan stated, let alone a development. Discoveries can only be made in a laboratory. Everything that the United States and the Euro- pean Union may do with respect to collaboration will come to nothing unless the creativity of scientists and researchers is released in the laboratory. He observed that we all may sometimes mistakenly conclude that events such as conferences or appearances on TV are more important than results. We must not lose sight of the process of discovery and the role of the individual researcher in driving discovery. Many of the most important discoveries, Dr. Cadogan continued, occurred when scientists set out with one purpose and wound up discovering something very different. It is too easy to say: "That won't work, obviously," only to find out later that the "impossible" experiment yielded remarkable findings. Some of the landmark breakthroughs that came about in this fashion include antibiotics, the laser, nuclear fission, the discovery of DNA, the ozone hole, and semiconductors. All of these were developed when people were not really looking. None of these 51

OCR for page 51
52 OPENING REMARKS discoveries were predicted, and many were discounted immediately upon the dis- coveries being made known. The nature of these discoveries reminds us of two important lessons of his- tory, Dr. Cadogan continued. First, there are no limits on the advance of scientific knowledge, and, second, we often forget lesson one. Many of our most eminent inventors and scientists have fallen victim to lesson two. We are not driven enough to think the unthinkable. Even many of our best innovators lose their vision after they have accomplished a great deal. Dr. Cadogan shared some examples of this phenomenon: . Alexander Graham Bell, shortly after he invented the telephone, predicted that one day every manufacturing firm in the United States would have a telephone. The chief engineer of the British Post Office said in 1876 that the tele- phone might be all well and good for the United States but that it would never catch on in Great Britain because the country has an adequate sup- ply of messenger boys. Ten years later the same chief engineer of the British Post Office said that if the growth of telephone subscribership continued, by the year 2000 every woman in Great Britain would have to be a telephone operator. Dr. Cadogan thus cautioned against scientists and industrialists thinking that nothing more is discoverable. Society must nourish creators and innovators. These are rarely the same people, and they can be difficult to work with. Moreover, they are unlikely to welcome advice from governments, politicians, or civil servants. But we must nonetheless cultivate the creators, who dream of new things, and the innovators, who make the new things work in the marketplace. Dr. Cadogan added that Europe has a great deal to learn from the United States in the business of innovation. He also observed that, while Europe had grown quite skilled in collaborative research, and while scientific inquiry re- mained vibrant in Europe, Europe could do better at "cracking the tough ones" in some research areas. Turning to the impact of discoveries, Dr. Cadogan noted that most scientific advance was incremental. A scientist must often be content with "putting a brick in the wall" and being satisfied with the entire edifice, once it is built through the efforts of many scientists. Only a few of us are given the ability to make the startling breakthrough that changes the world. In fact, there are really only four or five discoveries that have changed the world in this century the understanding of organic and physical chemistry at the start of this century, which led to the chemical industry; manned flight; nuclear fission; the transistor; and the genome. Each of these discoveries or developments has had widespread impacts on the world, and most will continue to alter the shape of society. Dr. Cadogan said that stunning discoveries, some of which we cannot even conceive of today, will be

OCR for page 51
JOHN CADOGAN 53 made on the basis of the genome. The innovators will have a "wonderful time" with discoveries coming from genome research. Turning to the program's next speaker, Gordon Moore, Dr. Cadogan com- mented that Gordon Moore knew more about innovation than "I've had hot din- ners." Noting Dr. Moore's standing as one of Silicon Valley's founding fathers, Dr. Cadogan observed that Europe has long marveled over the creativity and economic vitality of Silicon Valley. Perhaps, Dr. Cadogan concluded, Dr. Moore could tell us in his remarks where "Genome Valley" will be.