This is an edited collection of papers written between 1960 and 1967 and dealing with various aspects of science and government, with special attention to policies for the support of research. Most of the papers have previously been published. They deal with a wide range of issues including the following: a review and analysis of the arguments for and against a department of science, an analysis of arguments and criteria for federal support of research in universities and in other research institutions, the role and promise of new technology in meeting educational needs of the future, the role of national science policy in maximizing technology transfer and spurring innovation in the economy, the function of basic research supported by mission-oriented agencies of the federal government, the arguments for and against allocating research resources in terms of specific technology areas such as space and atomic energy instead of in terms of particular social purposes such as health, defense, or food production, the penetration of ideas and styles of thought derived from natural science into the general culture.
The book is designed for the general reader, and is intended to outline the thinking of the author about various aspects of what has come to be known as "science policy," i.e., the national allocation of scientific and technical resources and the relation between science and other public purposes. While the book does not provide any systematic development or closely knit theoretical structure for scientific policy, it does develop a consistent pattern of thought which is based on considerable practical experience of the author in advising federal agencies on scientific policy and in the actual operations of the various institutions of science inside and outside the government. The papers mostly stress the importance of flexibility and multiple and partially competing centers of decision about science. They point out that the unique strength of the American scientific establishment stems from the fact that science is not isolated from the other functions of government but is closely coupled into all the major "missions."