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â¢ NEW â¢ â¢ PATHWAYS N SCIENCE â¢ . AND â¢ â¢ TECHNOLOGY
â¢ â¢ NEW â¢ â¢ PATHWAYS IN SCIENCE . . AND â¢ â¢ TECHNOLOGY COLLECTED RESEARCH BRIEFINGS 1982-1984 COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE MAR fi 1985 LiBRAHY VINTAGE BOOKS %^ NEW YORK A NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS/RANDOM HOUSE PUBLICATION
<f> c.i A VINTAGE ORIGINAL, May 198; FIRST EDITION , Copyright Â© 1983, 1984 by the National Academy of Sciences All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. NOTICE: The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by Act of Congress as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation for the futherance of science and technology for the general welfare. The terms of its charter require the National Academy of Sciences to advise the federal govert1ment upon request within its fields of competence Under this corporate charter, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively. The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy is a joint committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. It includes members of the councils of all three bodies. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Contract PLN-8218330. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Main entry under title: New pathways in science and technology. "A National Academy Press/Random House publication." "A Vintage original"âCIP t.p. verso. 1. ResearchâUnited States. 2. ScienceâUnited States. 3. TechnologyâUnited States. 4. BiologyâUnited States. I. Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (U.S.) II. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) III. National Academy of Engineering. Q18o.u;N395 1985 500 84-29153 ISBN 0-394-74061-0 Manufactured in the United States of America
FOREWORD DC 1C. BY G.A. KEYWORTH, II SCIENCE ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT, AND DIRECTOR^ OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT One of the critical responsibilities of anyone charged with making and implementing public policy is to base action on sound principles and informed judgment. As Science Advisor to the President, I have to bring the scientist's perspective to major issues of public policy and I have to make sure that the nation's science and technology resources are developed and maintained to serve a variety of urgent national needs. To do that I must depend on the expertise of the science and technology community for two things: to 11elp anticipate important new avenues in research in order that we can plan for and take advan- tage of emerging opportunities as soon as possible; and to help establish priorities within technical disciplines in order than we can use limited federal funds wisely. There are many channels through which Expertise is made availa- ble to the White House, but none is as comprehensive as that of the National Academy complex*. For the past three years the briefings by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) have been a valuable resource in meeting our needs for *The National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, are referred to collectively as the National Academy complex.
FOREWORD information. Because the Academy complex has such extraordinary intellectual resources to draw on, the reports in this volume are truly distillations of a tremendous amount of thought and experience within the community. The subjects of the briefings, which to the reader may seem to have been selected arbitrarily, were strongly influenced by the issues that we in the White House Science Office were working on at the time. While there were obviously many other topics of comparable scientific interest that might have been selected (and many were pro- posed and debated), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and COSEPUP agreed that the most useful service that the briefings could serve would be to address topical issues in which federal actions were likely in the near term. The impact of COSEPUP has been in reinforcing percep- tions, in strengthening resolve, and in clarifying the often confusing multiplicity of information converging on us. However, I should point out that one of the studiesâ"Computers in Design and Manu- facturing," done in 1983âled almost directly and quickly to an important new program of Engineering Research Centers in the National Science Foundation. The circumstances of timingâCOSE- PUP's and oursâas well as the willingness of the National Acad- emy of Engineering to respond quickly in developing guidelines for the new program, resulted in a new initiative in a remarkably short time. Over three years COSEPUP and OSTP have worked well to- gether, and it's my perception that the briefings have become increas- ingly helpful in formulating science policy. The fascinating lesson of the 1984 round of briefings was the conclusion that serious progress in many of the areas of science and technology of concern to us demand new kinds of multidisciplinary approaches, a conclusion that has stimu- lated a great deal of thinking about new organizational structures for doing research. Indeed, we may find that this question of structure becomes a dominant theme in coming years as we have to find ways to explore unfolding lines of research in a broader context than the strictly disciplinary methods allow. Finally, I must acknowledge the contributions of the hundreds of scientists and engineers who worked on these projects, and I want to pay tribute to the man who was largely responsible for the briefings' evolving utility. The late George Low of RPI brought both his wisdom and his leadership to this project for the first two years. He recognized that the purpose of these briefings could only be fulfilled if they ad-
FOREWORD dressed current policy issues. His oversight ensured that the briefings would be relevant, concise, and, hence useful. In the past year the COSEPUP leadership has been taken over most ably by Caltech's Lee Silver, and we anticipate a continuing and productive partnership be- tween OSTP and COSEPUP.
CONTENTS FOREWORD v INTRODUCTION xiv THE REPORTS OF THE RESEARCH BRIEFING PANELS-1982 MATHEMATICS 2 ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES 22 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS 36 AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH 62 NEUROSCIENCE 88 HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL EXPOSURES 108 MATERIALS SCIENCE 122 THE REPORTS OF THE RESEARCH BRIEFING PANELS-1983 SOLIDEARTHSCIENCES 148 COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE 172 IMMUNOLOGY 198 IX
x CONTENTS COMPUTERS IN DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING SELECTED OPPORTUNITIES I CHEMISTRY 214 N 236 THE REPORTS OF THE RESEARCH BRIEFING PANELS-.984 COMPUTERARCHITECTURE 274 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN PRECOLLEGEEDUCATION 298 CHEMICAL AND PROCESS ENGINEERI NG FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY 318 HIGH-PERFORMANCE POLYMER COMPOSITES 336 BIOLOGY OF ONCOGENES 354 INTERACTIONS BETWEEN BLOOD AND BLOOD VESSELS (INCLUDING THE BIOLOGY OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS) 370 BIOLOGY OF PARASITISM 386 SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL PLASMA PHYSICS 400 SELECTED OPPORTUNITIES IN PHYSICS 416
INTRODUCTION Contained within this volume are reports from 21 research frontiers of American science and technology. These research briefings were pre- pared under the guidance of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Each briefing was presented to senior government offices charged with setting and administering the federal role in science and technology, including the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. The briefing reports in this volume, prepared by panels of out- standing researchers in each field, by no means offer a comprehensive view of American science and technology; nor do they constitute an assertion of which research fields are primary. Rather, they reflect issues of immediate concern to the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the year they were done. With these limits and goals understood, these briefings taken en bloc do serve a wider purpose, one that prompted their publication in this volume. Briefly, they serve both as a montage of American research in the early years of this decade and as testimony to the strength and diversity of U.S. science and technology. Whatever the specificâ XI
INTRODUCTION whether the plasma links between sun and earth, the intricate connec- tions of brain and mind, or the incredible diversity of new materials being created to orderâit is obvious that U.S. research is robust, creative, and fertile. Further, each of these briefings not only articulates knowledge gained but also new mysteries. They affirm what every researcher knows: that science is truly a "constantly changing set of approxima- tions." For example, we have found that oncogenes, alterations of normal genes, have a role in the causation of cancer. But exactly what is it that they do and how? We understand that the earth's surface is a lacework of moving plates, but what exactly causes them to move? We also now know a great deal about the structures of enzymes and the materials they act upon, but not a great deal about why enzymes act so quickly and so specifically. And so it goes. In virtually all reaches of the scientific and engi- neering endeavor, there are the telltales of growing strength and of incompletion, of new knowledge gained and more mysteries revealed. The French aviator and writer, Antoine de Sainte-Exupery, wrote of those "who launch canoes into the night." The chapters in this volume are canoes that have been launched and that together are lightening the night. We therefore commend this volume to you for several reasons: as a window into the frontiers of knowledge; as an instrument of federal policy in science and technology; and as testimony to the relentless urge within us all to understand. Finally, we dedicate this volume to the late George M. Low. The research briefings began under his leadership. That they have been successful, that they have gained a deserved reputation for quality and balance, and that they were, in fact, done at all is due to his dedication and wisdom. We miss him. Frank Press President National Academy of Sciences Leon T. Silver Chairman Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy