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WELCOME Dr. Detlev W. Bronk Chairman National Research Council Washington. D. C. Dr. Winternitz and Members of the Conference: On behalf of the staff of the National Research Council, I express warm appreciation of the opportunity you have of aiding in the development of an undertaking of great significance. It would be inappropriate for me to express the appreciation of the Council to you for your services to the Chemical-Biological Coordination Center, for the Council in which the Center operates is your own organization, for the fulfillment of such functions as you may desire. I can, however, express my admiration for your unselfish participation in this cooperative effort for the furtherance of science and the advancement of human welfare. I have expressed my conviction that this is an undertaking of significance. This I believe for several reasons. Of first importance is the function of the Center to facilitate research in an area of fruitful progress. 1 need not say to you that the relations of chemical structure to the archi- tecture and functions of biological systems is basic to advances of great importance. But what I would like to stress is the fact that the National Research Council, which has many functions relating to governmental and private agencies and activities of broad social significance, never- theless believes that its primary function must be the furtherance of scientific research. If we ever forget that this is our primary mission, if we ever deviate from primary emphasis upon the furtherance of research, whether it be called fundamental or applied, we shall weaken the basic foundations of the Council and thereby make it less able to fulfill its other responsibilities. I would also mention the fact that the Chemical-Biological Coordination Center exemplifies one of the most important functions, one of the most characteristic functions of the Council. I refer to the union of the sciences, without regard to the artificial boundaries of specialization and convenience. The very fact that, within this Center, there are representatives of the botanical and of the physiological, of the medical, of the chemical, of the zoological sciences is evidence of the fact that we can best fulfill our many functions by serving as a focus for the sciences which are here represented, without regard to the artificial boundaries of which I have spoken. Because it is one of my particular enthusiasms, I might go on to say that, although the Council has long succeeded in dealing with problems without regard to the question as to whether they should be approached from the standpoint of physics or biology or chemistry or engineering or psychology or medicine or geology, we have not until recently fully recognized the necessity for eliminating the boundaries between the sciences which are called natural and the sciences which are called social, and between the sciences and the humanities. But, during recent years, through the agency of the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils, which includes representatives not only of the National Research Council, but, also, of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council and, more recently, the American Council on Education, we have, we believe, succeeded in breaking down the barriers between these various fields of learning, and have made the four councils essentially one in the attack upon common problems relating to the national welfare. A related function of the Council, which your activity recognizes, is the function of serving as a focus for the common needs and mutual support of various agencies both govern- mental and private. This is of especial moment at present. The rapid growth of science makes
heavy demands upop our limited supply of scientific personnel. The National Research Council, accordingly, seeks to conserve for creative science the time and effort of scientists who are willing to satisfy the common needs of science and the needs of society by preventing the dupli- cation in various governmental agencies and in various private agencies and in various fields of science. Because of the fact that you are thus a focus for many governmental and private agencies, we point to you with pride as exemplifying this important function of the Council. Thoughtful scientists must regret a growing fragmentation of science, and must hope for a greater synthesis of knowledge. One of the greatest barriers to such a synthesis is the acceler- ated accumulation of experimentally derived facts and data. From every field of science, the National Research Council has, during the past year and a half, been urged to study means for the better dissemination and utilization of scientific knowledge. As experimenters, it has seemed to us quite right that we should encourage experimentation in the development and use of the structures of scientific knowledge. Because of this, as a result of two conferences on problems of scientific abstracting held during this past year, and of one concerned with scientific publica- ations of a primary nature, we have developed plans for the establishment of an agency which will serve as a clearinghouse for information concerning problems and solutions of problems relating to all phases of scientific information, an agency for the stimulation of research on how the publication and dissemination and utilization of scientific information can be better achieved. But that is something for the future. What is important is the fact that you have taken a first step in this important area of science and, because of this, have blazed new trails which, I am sure, will, in the future, not only pay great dividends in the provision of useful scientific information more readily achieved but, also, exemplify the possibility of scientists devising new means for the codification, for the presentation, for the usability of scientific information derived from scientific experimentation. Because of your vision in participating in this significant new undertaking, I congratulate you, and express my warm appreciation. Thank you very much.