National Academies Press: OpenBook

Robots, People, and Navies (1983)

Chapter: The Charles H. Davis Lecture Series

Suggested Citation:"The Charles H. Davis Lecture Series." National Research Council. 1983. Robots, People, and Navies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18875.
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Suggested Citation:"The Charles H. Davis Lecture Series." National Research Council. 1983. Robots, People, and Navies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18875.
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THE CHARLES H. DAVIS LECTURE SERIES A THE CLOSE of that greatest of all contests of men and machines, Vorld War II, Theodore von Karman could say, with deep personal conviction, that ". . . scientific results cannot be used efficiently by soldiers and sailors who have no understanding of them, and scientists cannot produce results useful for warfare without an understanding of the operations." With such simple truths fresh on their minds, von Karman and his civilian and military colleagues proceeded to forge institutional links—such as the Office of Naval Research—through which they hoped to encourage an enduring part- nership between the scientific and military communities. Though the intensity of the bond has fluctuated with the ebb and flow of international relations and internal affairs, the partnership has endured to produce a military capability but dimly perceived by those who established it. But the partnership is not self-sustaining; it requires the constant vigilance of those who have not forgotten the bitter lessons of the past, the outspoken dedication of those whose vision extends beyond the next procurement cycle, and, above all, it requires open communication between the partners. It is to this latter task that the Charles H. Davis Lecture Series is dedicated. The lecture series is named in honor of Rear Admiral Charles Henry Davis (1807-1877) whose distinguished career as a naval officer and as a scientist so epitomizes the objectives of the series, and whose clear vision of the proper role of science in human affairs redounded to the betterment of all men. The topics and the speakers in the series are chosen by a Search Committee operating under the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and two lectures are presented each year before the students and faculty of both the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and The Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island. The series is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

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