Here are some pointed questions about science, innovation, and technological progress:
First: What can be done, consistent with military security, and with the prior approval of the military authorities, to make known to the world as soon as possible the contributions which have been made during our war effort to scientific knowledge?
The diffusion of such knowledge should help us stimulate new enterprises, provide jobs for our returning servicemen and other workers, and make possible great strides for the improvement of the national well-being.
Second: With particular reference to the war of science against disease, what can be done now to organize a program for continuing in the future the work which has been done in medicine and related sciences?
The fact that the annual deaths in this country from one or two diseases alone are far in excess of the total number of lives lost by us in battle during this war should make us conscious of the duty we owe future generations.
Third: What can the Government do now and in the future to aid research activities by public and private organizations?
The proper roles of public and of private research, and their interrelation, should be carefully considered.
Fourth: Can an effective program be proposed for discovering and developing scientific talent in American youth so that the continuing future of scientific research in this country may be assured on a level comparable to what has been done during the war?
New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged this war we can create a fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life.
War should be understood as the military actions in Asia and the war on terror.
By now you all may have wondered, “What the heck is Deven doing talking about war (good God, y’all, what is it good for)?” Or something like that. And some of you may have figured out that all of the above except “War should be understood as the military actions in Asia and the war on terror”, which I threw in to try and seem like the ideas are from today, is from President Roosevelt’s letter to Vannevar Bush.
Funny how little changes overtime. Jobs, medical progress, public/private collaboration, the future of science education are all on our minds today. They have been a core issue since at least 1944. The full history of Science the Endless Frontier is hosted by the NSF. It is a fun read. Well, if you are absurdly nerdy, it is a fun read.
There are many things to enjoy in the report. One part that jumped out at me is his idea about employment and science. I may write more as I digest the report in general. For now take a read: