"Congress will have to decide upon budget priorities
within a tight fiscal discipline. The future years do not look much
better as this nation works to pare the budget deficit to half its
current value. How science will fare, both within the Administration
and in Congress, depends on us, on you and me, and our ability to
convince this nation of the importance of science.
"We are not without arguments to make this case. For
me, they rest upon three pillars: economic growth, scientific literacy,
and intellectual excitement. Each is a critical element for our society,
and you contribute to all three.
"Economic growth since World War II has depended upon
contributions from science across the industrial spectrum. Fully 50%
of that growth has arisen from developments easily attributable to
the scientific enterprise. Although economists are loath to pin the
precise number down, it is widely accepted that, as Nobel Laureate
Robert Solow put it, T]echnology remains the dominant engine
of growth, with human capital investment [that is to say education]
in second place.' From his December 8, 1987 Nobel Prize lecture:
progress, very broadly defined to include improvements in the human
factor, was necessary to allow long-run growth in real wages and the
standard of living
. Gross output per hour of work in the U.S.
economy doubled between 1909 and 1949; and some seven-eighths of that
increase could be attributed to technological change in the
broadest sense' and only the remaining eighth could be attributed
to conventional increase in capital intensity
. The broad conclusion
has held up surprisingly well in the thirty years since then
[E]ducation per worker accounts for 30 percent of the increase
in output per worker and the advance of knowledge accounts for 64
"Or, in other words, Science is good for you. Support
of science, the basis of technological growth, is a necessary investment
for fully two-thirds of economic growth, according to Solow. This
message needs to be heard far and near. We are not asking for a handout.
We are the fuel of economic prosperity for this country.
"Science provides much of our intellectual nourishment.
The excitement of discovery, from relativity to quantum mechanics
to genomics to cosmology, pervades not only our psyche but our very
language. Quantum leap, chaos, uncertainty, relativity, the big bang,
and even E=mc2 have all entered our modern vocabulary -- though they
tend to get misused or misunderstood. In National Science Foundation
(NSF) surveys conducted since 1979, about 90 percent of U.S. adults
report being very or moderately interested in new scientific discoveries
and the use of new inventions and technologies. However, only half
of NSF survey respondents knew that the earliest humans did not live
at the same time as dinosaurs, that it takes the Earth one year to
go around the Sun, and that electrons are smaller than atoms. Only
one-third could adequately explain what it means to study something
"Scientific literacy is an essential task to which we
must all contribute. The future of our society depends upon an understanding
of the scientific method. Otherwise, we shall be bedeviled by quackery,
and our ability to adapt to our rapidly changing technological environment
will be at risk."
"Yet, 42% of scientists do not engage in any form of
public outreach. We must continue to confront scientific illiteracy,
to press for the scientific method in place of superstition. This
organization, the AAAS, has proven a powerful voice in that enterprise.
The beauty of science, its import, and its logic have much to contribute
to our national heritage. All of us are teachers. We must continue
to show the way."
"One aspect I would like to emphasize is the tremendous
impact of science and technology on our daily lives. Think of how
we communicate with one another today, and compare it with Einstein's
day. Think of how and with whom we do business: more and more, the
world of commerce is becoming globally integrated.
"We owe all of this to the fantastic advances in science
that have occurred in the last hundred years, advances in basic science
inevitably leading to major applications and technology. The World
Year of Physics is giving us an opportunity to tell this story, not
only about physics itself, but through its interaction with other
sciences as well. I believe that we should continue to tell this story
not only this year, but next year, and the year after, and the year