economic studies show that more than half the per capita productivity increases in the United States since World War II have come from technological advances. Although such factors as better skills among workers and new methods of organizing production will continue to contribute to economic expansion, new technologies will continue to be the major force behind the generation of new wealth.
Similarly, many new technologies are increasingly reliant on science —whether the new science emerging from research laboratories or the well-established science available to everyone with the necessary training. Engineering, increasingly science-based, could not have achieved its present level of sophistication without its base of scientific knowledge. This increasing integration of science and technology also applies in reverse: technological problems now inspire important areas of science, even as science broadens the scope and capabilities of technology.
Given the fact that science and technology are necessary, but not sufficient, elements of human progress, we as a nation face important questions: How great an investment in science and technology should we make to meet national needs? How can we best measure national performance in science and technology? The committee turns to these questions next.
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