and the federal government realized that national labs were probably not the best location for doing classified work.
Christopher Hill, George Mason University: I'd like to consider the comment about whether the state of industrial practice is in some sense so far ahead of what the universities know that we can no longer effectively teach what we know in anticipation of what will happen in industry in the future. Embedded in this comment is the implication that in the good old days we faculty members were always better informed and ahead of the state of the art of colleagues in industry. To the contrary, it seems to me that industry practice has nearly always been ahead of academic teaching.
Todd La Porte: That's not the point here. Your point is also true, but in the past if we wanted to find out we could. Now we can't. We are sending our graduate students out to essentially enlarge their knowledge from outsiders. Right now this has declined in the view of the colleagues in that department. They say that this is the situation they confront. Their belief in this was strong enough to be troubling and they have had experience doing it. I have a lot of cunning colleagues at UC Berkeley in this matter. It seems clear that we need to learn some things that we don't know and that are not generally known about this type of relationship.
Debonny Shoal, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory: A couple of observations: You commented about the inaccessibility of some kinds of information because information is closely held, and that there exist proprietary constraints with respect to sharing information. As far as I know, sequestering information has existed as long as there has been intellectual exchange. I agree with you that it is important to question, to explore, and to contest the constraints on free flow of information; however, I believe that there are often good reasons and strong drivers for nondisclosure, and any attempts to change that would have little impact.
The other observation is one that might be a little bit flip, but as you were referring to organizational models, you referred to the "predatory" nature of the industrial enterprise. I would refer you to an organizational model presented by microbial communities in nature. Although a population may be subject to predators, a good predator never completely destroys its host population.
Todd La Porte: Then you want to make sure that you are involved with a good predator.