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Excerpt from Science and Technology in America: An Assessment
This monograph, Science and Technology in America - An Assess ment, is the published version. Of a series of distinguished lectures delivered at the National Bureau of Standards during the months of March and April 1976. This series was conceived to commemorate two anniversa ries - the birth of this Nation 200 years ago, and the founding of the Na tional Bureau of Standards 75 years ago With this monograph, we are happy to share the authoritative view which the series as a whole provides of the broad reach of science and technology in this country with a wider audience than was able to attend the lectures in person.
This Series was designed to assess the' current state and future prospects of those broad physical sciences and technologies in which the Bureau of Standards is significantly involved. Science and technology have been increasingly a critical factor in the development of our world. More specifically, this Nation was born in an age of scientific exploration and ex perimentation. Some of the signers of the Constitution, who considered themselves men of science, include'd Franklin, Madison, Pinckney and J ef ferson. These men looked to the early establishment of a national universi ty and Federal societies of the arts and sciences.
Over the past 200 years, we as a Nation have participated increasingly in the development of the intellectual structure we call science - an achievement in its own right. By expanding our knowledge of nature in this way we are, in fact, expanding knowledge of ourselves. For in the end the primary resource for, and the primary beneficiary of, science and technolo gy is man himself.
Resistance to technological innovation is certainly not 'a modern development. The early restrictive and nuisance laws on horseless car riages vis-a-vis the horse-drawn variety is but one case in point. However, the pace of modern technological innovation and the ultimate limits in global carrying capacity, which come ever closer upon us with each incre ment 'in production andpopulation, have caused us to look at science and technology with new eyes. Some propose returning to a simpler life with a moratorium on science and technology. Others point to the need for con tinned scientific and technological growth, but call for greater understand ing and assessment of the overall effects and externalized costs of major new technological deployments. Clearly we are in a period which demands much greater statesmanship from the scientific and technological commu nity, and we at the National Bureau of Standards believe we have con tributed much, and have much more to offer in the future along this line.
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