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Science and Progress

In the 1950's Vannevar Bush and others were influential in bringing about fundamental growth in scientific research in the United States. He authored the report that resulted among other things in the formation of the National Science Foundation.

Along with increased government beaureacracy in research administration, one saw the gradual increase of the attempt by the government agencies to mastermind "directions" in research throught funding of special initiatives and projects. In the 1960's the groundwork of American research infrastructure grew by doing everything possible to encourage the most talented students to pursue research in science, with generous support for researchers at all levels. The scientific administrators chose their grantees based on the perception of ability, and did not try to micromanage the topics on which the scientists work. My dear colleague George Mackey warned constantly that the government would eventually try to control reseach and university priorities. For that reason, George refused to accept government research money himself; he wanted no-one else to tell him what to think about, or to dictate to the universities what research should be done. While George held his view in the extreme, he was right. George Mackey died in March 2006, just after turning 90.

These resulted from Congressional pressure, which eventually led to a very unfortunate state of affairs.