Lost At The Frontier: US Science and Technology Policy Adrift
by Deborah Shapley CO-AUTHOR RUSTUM ROY
In the early 1980s the arrival of superior technology from Japan shook confidence in US technology leadership. Why was US innovation lagging despite world-class basic research and record-breaking Nobels?
A leading US materials scientist Rustum Roy and I argued in this essay that the basic-resarch-is-best model, which Vannevar Bush proposed in Science the Endless Frontier in 1945, built a flawed enterprise. With exceptions such as medicine, “the profession has cut itself off from its natural linkages to technology and society at large,” we wrote.
Noting (in 1985) that a new worldwide technology revolution was predicted, “the two of us have doubt that the US science profession as presently constituted will serve that revolution as well as it should.”
"Shapley and Roy have highlighted an important issue. There is a need for a national science and technology policy. Such a policy requires a long term approach.[T]his book may encourage a better debate of the issues."
- W. Henry Lambright, Science, Vol. 232, 23 May 1986
"The book is important for the questions it raises and the sometimes unpleasant truths it tells."
- A. Fainberg, Bioscience