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Pursuing the Endless Frontier of Science, Engineering and Technology: The Challenges, the Solutions and the Opportunities

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

National Science Foundation 50th Anniversary Lecture Series
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

Monday, July 10, 2000

Thank you, Kurt (Suplee), and thank you all.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to address you as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

I, myself, was supported by an NSF grant while a graduate student at MIT, as part of a wave of aspiring scientists (in the 1960s and 1970s) educated through a partnership of universities and government, a partnership rooted in the relatively modern history of scientific research support in this country and the technological advancement that has flowed from it.

This partnership grew out of another, earlier union, which brought together the universities, government and industry during World War II.

It was a partnership whose efficacy President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood well when he asked Dr. Vannevar Bush to convene a high level group to review the organization of scientific research and the support of scientific education in the United States. President Roosevelt made this request with an eye toward institutionalizing the unique compact that supported scientific research and development during the war, and the benefits derived from that work.

Ironically, Dr. Bush delivered his response not to President Roosevelt but, instead, to President Harry Truman. President Roosevelt died before the work was finished.

Dr. Bush's report — "Science — The Endless Frontier" — served as the blueprint for our long-term national investment in scientific research and education. This includes the post-World War II shift of the preponderance of our scientific and technological capabilities to a compact among our research universities, industry, and government.

Let me take a moment to discuss Vannevar Bush himself, as the landmark report he wrote in response to President Roosevelt's request is largely credited with leading to the creation of the National Science Foundation half a century ago.

Vannevar Bush made a number of contributions to science and technology, including:
25 years on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), following a teaching stint at Tufts University and before assuming the role at MIT of vice president and dean;
President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington;
Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics;
Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, a presidential appointment in which he oversaw the work of some 6,000 scientists involved in using science to advance the U.S. effort in World War II;
Proposal of the development of an analogue computer, which became the Rockefeller Differential Analyzer; and,
Conception of the Memex, which provided, for the first time, easily accessed, individually configurable knowledge storage (hypertext), and which was described in his other landmark writing — "As We May Think."

But for all that he did directly to advance the body of knowledge in science and technology, his greatest contribution was — in my view —- not directly scientific or technological at all.

Instead, it was the result of a two-fold effort that was more an application of his policy-making capabilities than anything else.

On the first level was the writing of "Science — The Endless Frontier." This was one of the most direct and persuasively written policy documents of its time. It captured the attention of President Truman and of the Congress.

And, on the second level was the manner in which Dr. Bush himself engineered the very creation of the report.

It is often said that it was President Roosevelt who asked his then—top science advisor to prepare the report. But, it was — in fact — Dr. Bush himself who both planted in President Roosevelt's mind the idea for the report and further suggested that the president "request" it from his advisor.

The central premise of "Science — the Endless Frontier" was the importance of science and technology (but especially of scientific research) to the future well-being of the United States. In his transmittal letter, Dr. Bush said, "Scientific progress is one essential key to our security as a nation, to our better health, to more jobs, to a higher standard of living, and to our cultural progress."

And in his report, he said, "Basic scientific research is scientific capital."

Dr. Bush captured this as a fundamental policy concept that led to the establishment of the National Science Foundation (by law in 1950), and to the support of basic scientific research in universities by other government agencies, as well.

The essence of Dr. Bush's arguments included three points:

1) The importance of support of basic scientific research by the Federal government;

2) The role of research universities; and,

3) The support by the Federal government of the education of young people in science and engineering.

An important ingredient and outcome of Dr. Bush's work was the notion of the research university, which would partner with government and industry to ensure continued global preeminence of the United States — in short, there would be a compact that would accomplish this goal. In fact, in the report he asserts, "The publicly and privately supported colleges, universities, and research institutes are the centers of basic research. They are the wellsprings of knowledge and understanding. As long as they are vigorous and healthy and their scientists are free to pursue the truth wherever it may lead, there will be a flow of new scientific knowledge to those who can apply it to practical problems in Government, in industry, or elsewhere."

The partnership — the compact — has evolved, but the fundamental tenets remain. In fact, Dr. Erich Bloch (former Director of the NSF) in "Research as a Vital Foundation for Society" notes, "I would suggest the need for increased cooperation between sectors of society, not stratification or separation, will be the answer to both technological and economical problems."

What has the compact wrought??

To be succinct, the compact has provided the foundation of basic knowledge and the innovation that drives the American economy and sustains our leadership in the world. It undergirds our national defense and security, making us, still, the dominant power in the world. The American economy is more robust than at any time in the last twenty years, perhaps in its history. Technological innovation built on basic science holds more promise than ever to enhance communications, commerce, and education, and to cure disease. In the last half-century, we have educated some of the United States', and the world's, most outstanding scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs. This latter point illustrates the critical importance of science and engineering education and scientific literacy, to the Nation's well-being.

Fundamental understanding of quantum science, especially at the subatomic level, and the innovations growing out of that understanding led to the development of the atomic bomb, which was used in World War II. However, the past half-century has seen numerous, constructive applications of nuclear science and technology in areas as diverse as electric power generation, medical uses such as brachytherapy stereotactic x-ray treatments of brain tumors, and eradication of agricultural pests.

While all of this has been going on, over the past 25 years physicists have developed imaging techniques that allow non-invasive looks into the human body. CAT (Computer Assisted Tomography) scans combine x-ray and computers to create cross-sectional images of the human body, while Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnetism and electromagnetic waves to view soft tissue, such as the brain.

The understanding and application of quantum science at the sub-microscopic level in materials led to the development of the transistor, and later the microprocessor, undergirding the development of the Internet, and the entire communications revolution.

To further illustrate how far we have come: when the University of Pennsylvania unveiled the ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) in 1946, it was equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1500 relays, and 6000 switches. Weighing 30 tons and consuming enormous amounts of energy, ENIAC performed 5999 calculations per second.

But, with the advent of the microprocessor, the relentless pace of miniaturization of electronic components, driving down costs, is the reason that the room-sized computer of yesterday is overshadowed by a desktop or laptop today. Today's state-of-the-art supercomputers perform trillions of operations per second. And "Blue Gene," the supercomputer that IBM is developing, is projected to perform one thousand trillion calculations per second, and to be able to download the entire content of the Internet in one minute. This is mind boggling; but when it is accomplished, it will probably seem passé.

This advance in computational capabilities, with concomitant advances in communications technologies, comprise what we know as Information Technologies (or IT). When we hear a weather forecast, listen to a CD, or view a DVD movie, we are using IT.

An interesting and critical outgrowth of physics research on the measurement of time, married to IT, is the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is an array of 24 satellites, orbiting the Earth every 12 hours. They emit radio signals indicating their position and time to within one billionth of a second. When receivers on Earth pick up these signals, they can use them to pinpoint their own positions. GPS has led to applications as diverse as "smart" bombs and missiles, to the mapping of remote locales, to tracking technology for cargo movement, to a new GPS-based automatic collision notification (CAN) system.

Perhaps the most profound IT-related development is the advent of the Internet itself, which emerged from a joint effort by the Federal government and universities to advance networking technology. In 1969 the Department of Defense opened its experimental nation-wide computer network through the Advanced Research Projects Agency (later DARPA). In 1987, the NSF opened DARPA's network to civilian academic researchers. In 1991, the Internet opened to the general public.

To appreciate the significance of this impact, consider that from its inception, radio took 38 years before 50 million people tuned in, television took 13 years, while the Internet took 4 years.

On the educational side, the Federal government is developing an Internet-based multimedia library of text, images, sound and other materials—- accessible to all teachers and children who can log on.

Such a library will allow children virtual access to things they may not be able to experience directly — as diverse, according to the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), as the Gettysburg battlefield and the Apollo 11 command module.

IT and the Internet also are revolutionizing college undergraduate education by allowing the development and use of technology-enhanced interactive learning in studio classrooms, and in multidisciplinary design laboratories which link teams of designers at a university with their counterparts in industry to work on common problems. These educational enhancements can and do occur because IT and the Internet have already made it easier for researchers to collect, analyze, share and compare data.

The increase in information processing and computational capabilities brought on by supercomputers (in fact, what Blue Gene will be), together with advances in mathematical modeling, naturally lead us to consider the basis of the next great technological leap — namely the sequencing of the entire human genome.

Human genetic research traces its roots back to the 19th century work of Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, who proved that plant traits are largely inherited. Over the course of the first half of the 20th century, scientists learned that heredity is controlled by genes, that genes are located in chromosomes, and that genes are made from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

James Watson and Francis Crick deciphered the structure of DNA — namely a double helix. How the DNA sequence is expressed in humans was still an open question until the completion last month, by Celera Corporation (private) and the Human Genome Project (public), of the decoding of the chain of 3.1 billion DNA molecules, and the mapping of their location in the 23 pairs of chromosomes in all cells. This tour de force holds unfathomable medical potential, which includes the ability to predict specific diseases in individual human beings and to tailor individual cures.

I could go on and on, but, needless to say, the next fifty years will make the past fifty years appear tame from a technological perspective.

Ironically, even as knowledge within the scientific and technological communities accelerates and creates evermore benefits for society, there are concerns which must be faced and solved in the scientific communities, in the government, in the nation, if we are to continue the effective and productive pursuit of the endless frontier described by Dr. Vannevar Bush. Two of these concerns are in areas that Dr. Bush discussed (one of them with a twist however), and a third in an area that he did not address.

These challenges are especially relevant to the NSF Directorate I speak on behalf of tonight: Education and Human Resources. They are:

1. Support for basic research, so vital to advancing our well-being. Can we as a society realize the greatest, broadest possible benefits of science and technology if support for basic research in scientific fields is fraying? And what must we do to strengthen this support?

2. The pipeline of future scientists, engineers, and technologists: Are we preparing enough young people today (and are we preparing them at the proper levels) to fill these positions for tomorrow? Are we using the best means possible to attract students to scientific and technological fields, and to teach well those we do attract?

A closely related part of this question is another: What are we doing to address the vast demographic shifts among our population as we consider how best to fill the pipeline? Are we doing everything we can to ensure that we are drawing the students who fill the pipeline from as diverse a spectrum of candidates as our changing population reflects, recognizing the numerical reality and the richness of views, experience and energies this diversity holds?

3. Ethics: How can we better prepare the scientific and technological leaders of tomorrow to deal with the ethical dilemmas arising today from the marriage of science and commerce? How do we address these dilemmas vis-à-vis the public?

The transcendent challenge in all of this — is to make the world of science and technology more accessible and transparent to ever more people, both those who will enter these fields and those who will not.

In each of these specific challenges reside their solutions and the answers to the larger challenge, as well as opportunities we cannot even begin to imagine.

First, support for basic scientific research, including the support for the education and training so vital to advancing basic investigation.

Overall, research and development funding numbers have shown a continued and steady increase over recent years.

And within these statistics, funding for basic research shows increases, as well.

For example, according to the "Indicators 2000" report published by the NSF, total R&D spending — in real terms — grew 6.5 percent in 1998 to $227.2 billion after growing 5.5 percent in 1997 to $211.3 billion.

As a proportion of gross national product, R&D spending in 1998 rose, modestly, from 2.43 percent to 2.67 percent, a reflection of how R&D spending growth has outpaced overall economic growth in the U.S. since 1994.

According to the same NSF report, basic research spending has grown over the same period, but at a lesser rate — reaching $37.9 billion in 1998 and reflecting a 4.7-percent annual growth rate since 1980, compared to a 3.9-percent annual growth rate in applied research spending.

But within these broad statistics resides another story, which actually shows that support for basic research is fraying.

This can be seen in the Federal Government's declining share of basic research funding. As a percentage of all funding, the Government's share of basic research funding has dropped from 70.5 percent in 1980 to 53.4 percent in 1998.

That is a 24-percent drop from what has been — historically — the largest funder of basic scientific research.

In real terms there has been a shift in support from Federal to non-Federal sectors.

Today, more than a third (or about half) of all funding for basic research in the U.S. comes from nonfederal sources, and much of this from industry. Since the industry focus is actually more directed, the support for basic research in industry may be more apparent than real.

Our second specific challenge is the pipeline of future scientists, engineers, and technologists. Concomitant demographic shifts compound this challenge.

The National Science Board, which oversees the NSF, concludes in a study released last month that a drop in science enrollment threatens the U.S. economy.

This is reflected by the situation in IT-related fields alone. Between 1995 and 1998, the "Internet economy" grew at a compounded rate of 174.5%, compared with 2.8% for the U.S. Economy overall, with 1998 revenues of $301 billion. It is past that point today. Yet, our country's technology-based industries cannot meet their employment needs, which is why each year, companies seek to increase the number of visas issued to technologically trained workers from other nations.

In fact, a 1998 report by the National Information Technology Workforce Convocation cited a shortage of 346,000 information technology workers in 1998. And, according to Department of Labor projections, 60 percent of American jobs in the coming years will require skills that only 20 percent of Americans have.

The National Science Board report notes that enrollment in graduate-school level science programs declined each year from 1993 to 1997 — following four decades of annual growth.

Over this 1993-'97 period, graduate enrollment in science and engineering dropped 6.5 percent, from approximately 435,000 students to 408,000 students.

Part of the drop has been attributed to the decline in foreign-born Ph.D. candidates (15 percent in 1997, marking the first such annual decline in a decade).

The same study also reports — and this is the demographic adjunct to the challenge — that only five percent of graduate students in science programs are African-American and fewer than four percent are Hispanic.

Women continue to be underrepresented in this group, as well (at 40 percent in 1997).

This under-representation exists even with predictions that, while college enrollment will rise 10 to 20 percent over the next decade or two, 80 percent of this increase will come from demographic segments traditionally least well represented in scientific fields — women and minorities.

We, thus, are struggling to keep pace with the acceleration of "pipeline" challenges and new, related issues complicating these challenges.

The demographic aspect of our "pipeline" challenge reflects a broader societal problem: The Digital Divide.

During the past decade, studies have shown a disparity between whites and minorities both in terms of computer ownership and access.

The Commerce Department has conducted a series of studies called "Falling Through the Net." The latest report, issued last year, shows that Americans are now more connected than ever. More than 40 percent of American households own computers, and one-quarter of all households have Internet access.

But the 1999 report also shows that a real gap exists between the information rich and the information poor. As connectivity has grown, the digital divide actually has widened for many groups.

Between 1997 and 1998, the gap between those at the highest and lowest education levels increased 25 percent, and the divide between those at the highest and lowest income levels grew 29 percent.

Households with incomes of $75,000 and higher are twenty times more likely to have access to the Internet than those at the lowest levels, and more than nine times as likely to have a computer at home.

White Americans are more likely to have access to the Internet from home than African-Americans or Hispanics have from any location.

To get to the third challenge — one which Vannevar Bush did not consider in confronting the endless frontier — and as I recently told attendees at the commencement exercises at Dartmouth College — amidst the excitement of discovery, we confront new and ever more difficult and complex ethical questions—posed, paradoxically, by our increasing mastery of the world around us — especially the ethical dilemmas at the nexus of science, technology, and the marketplace.

In addition to being difficult for scientists, engineers, lawmakers, policymakers, as well as universities and businesses, these dilemmas themselves can add to the distance the average person feels from science and technology, and can add to his or her sense of disquiet about the accelerating pace of technological change.

Confronting us daily are questions such as: "When does life begin?" "When does it end?" "Who should benefit from the next new life-saving technique?" "How much risk is acceptable for research subjects?"

Three examples illustrate these kinds of dilemmas well:

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a young assistant professor of computer science, Wesley Huang, is researching robotic manipulation and mobile robotics.

He is working with multiple robots to create a type of collective intelligence to perform a task which one robot cannot perform alone. Acting in teams, these robots will be especially useful in environments inhospitable to humans.

But there are concerns. In April, Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist Bill Joy, in an article published in Wired magazine, "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us," warned that unconstrained research could create a whole new potential for abuse.

Joy's fear? That through the convergence of bioscience and robotics, robots will develop their own type of intelligence and will self-replicate unchecked.

Bill Joy wrote, "Failing to understand the consequences of our inventions while we are in the rapture of discovery and innovation seems to be a common fault of scientists and technologists…."

In France, gene therapy appears to have cured at least two children with inherited immune system disorders. The youngsters are healthy, and living normal lives almost a year after being treated.

However, last September, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a teenage boy was administered an experimental gene therapy for a rare metabolic disorder. Tragically, the treatment proved fatal, and the boy's parents charged that they were not fully informed of the risks. In response, the University of Pennsylvania suspended all human subject trials in May.

The University of California-Berkeley recently completed a deal with Novartis, a Swiss biotechnology and agrochemical firm, which provides $25 million in research support over five years.

And, Berkeley researchers will receive access to Novartis' genomic databases.

In return, Berkeley's Department of Natural Resources has agreed to give Novartis first rights to negotiate licensing agreements on all discoveries from the sponsored research, and seats on the committee overseeing the work.

The fear is that, with Novartis managers playing a major role in setting research priorities for the Department, research will only be pursued that Novartis deems commercially valuable. In other words, research decisions would be made, not for the sake of science, but for the sake of profits.

And again, there are the questions, questions that seem to get only tougher as we move forward:

"Are any means to a positive end justified?" "Are deaths in genetic research trials acceptable?" "If so, how many?" "Are we moving forward more quickly than our ethical infrastructure can support?"

I would not pretend to know the answers to these. But I think that the need for building ethics into our scientific and technological curricula is clear to all of us.

As important as the science in which they are based, these ethical dilemmas represent hurdles that must be cleared — hurdles that cannot be ignored — if we are to continue our pursuit of the endless frontier.

In fact, these ethical dilemmas might become the biggest hurdles we face in science and technology over the next 50 years, including the challenge of increasing general access to technical fields.

Taken together, the challenges I have discussed — I suggest — are the greatest challenges faced by science and technology today.

Fortunately, as I noted earlier, we need not look any further than the challenges themselves to find solutions.

First, we must improve funding for basic research, including infrastructure support. We must attract more talented young people to technical fields, and to research, by making clearer the critical role of basic research, and by backing this belief with public and private funding.

This includes undergraduate research support, more graduate fellowships and other financial incentives for those pursuing basic research, more partnerships with industry in basic research fields, and finding more ways to recognize publicly the valuable contributions of today's basic research, and its role in our national security, our economy, and our overall well-being.

Second, we must begin at the beginning — to ensure that the "pipeline" of future scientists and engineers is full, and that it represents fully the shifting demographic foundation of our population. In other words, in a twist that Dr. Bush and others of his era did not, and perhaps could not, anticipate, the real solution is to start early, and to embrace the evolving demographics of our society, by bridging the digital divide. We have the talent; we just have not been looking in all the right places.

We must find new ways to excite the youngest among us and to address the concerns among their elders.

The earlier we start, the better.

Since many studies suggest that middle school is the latest point at which we can hope to capture the scientific and technological imagination of students, we must concentrate more of our efforts at the preceding stage of education: elementary education.

And, in concert with this effort, we must find ways to demystify science and technology for the parents of our children. The understanding and acceptance of one generation shape the understanding and acceptance of the generations that follow.

Increasing the number of students, including African-American, Hispanic, and other minority students, in the scientific education pipeline is critical and will work. The key is excellence in education and training, from elementary school through graduate school, for all students.

As we focus on this, we have to erase the differences in the types of math and science courses that minority students take.

According to the 1999 Digest of Education Statistics, in 1998 only 54.3 percent of Black students took chemistry compared to 63.2 percent of White students. And, less than 22 percent of Hispanic and Black students have taken physics, compared to 30.7 percent of White and 46.4 percent of Asian students. Likewise, there are significant gaps in the statistics for advanced mathematics classes.

Third, we have to make the teaching of pre-college mathematics and science an attractive career option. We must connect, and reconnect, teachers to the ever-changing world of science and technology in order to improve the education of the scientists and engineers of the future. And we can do this by providing for these teachers the same kinds of support and incentives we provide for faculty members in universities.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have proposed a pilot program (not yet funded) in the fiscal year 2001 budget: Community Alliance for Math, Science and Technology Literacy (CASTL), which builds upon this idea.

They propose partnering local school boards and businesses to foster high quality education by enhancing the professional development of math, science and technology teachers.

Together, the school board and the local businesses would recruit and hire math, science, and technology teachers and provide them with a year-long salary for at least four years.

Business leaders would guarantee summer employment for the teachers and provide the opportunity for the teachers to develop innovative teaching methods reflecting real-world experience of science and technology in the workplace.

Initially, only seven partnerships would be funded, however, I hope that communities and businesses on their own will take the initiative to develop similar programs for their existing teachers. In fact, this is precisely the kind of initiative I have been advocating as being broadly needed to attract the best teachers of science and mathematics into the pre-college classroom.

Fourth, we must develop specific means for optimizing the educational experiences in science and technology for both students and teachers through the use of technology. In other words, we must learn to better harness the very technology of which we teach to improve HOW we teach.

Sadly, we are not unlike the shoemaker's children in this regard. While there are some solid efforts to use technology to improve our ability to educate — including some at R.P.I. of which I am especially proud — we are, as a group, walking largely barefoot through this area.

Distance learning and technologically enabled interactive learning should be part of all of our offerings. These tools will improve residentially-based undergraduate education, while opening the doors for those with less direct access, those who historically have been disenfranchised, those who have been out the workforce for extended periods, while providing lifelong learning opportunities for working professionals.

And finally, we must infuse into all of our science and technology education at the university levels — both undergraduate and graduate — teachings on the issues of ethics. We must better prepare the leaders of tomorrow to cope with the mounting ethical dilemmas they are sure to face.

I further suggest that we infuse ethical training not only into graduate-level and undergraduate-level education, but even into high school science and technology curricula.

Namely, that we provide the students of today — our leaders of tomorrow — with the exposure, and the challenge, to grapple with and resolve the ethical dilemmas of science, technology, and commerce that are sure to arise.

To resolve such dilemmas, we must look beyond the science or technology that are at their foundations and take a broader view.

For ethics, in this context, demands not the ever-closer view that we have been trained in, but, rather, the wider, broader view that provides the perspective critical to the resolution of ethical questions.

Now, what of the opportunities that await us in applying these solutions? In meeting these challenges?

The continued acceleration of knowledge in scientific fields makes it almost impossible to address these questions with great specificity.

But I would suggest that we consider the advance of science and technology of just the past 50 years, and apply to it the multiplying factor that is our ever advancing knowledge — squaring, cubing and so on our achievements — to begin to fathom the future.

Or, perhaps, we could understand these opportunities better and more simply, by revisiting the work of Vannevar Bush and the pursuit of the endless frontier that is science.

Among so many other contributions he made, Vannevar Bush provided the catalyst for advancing scientific knowledge to levels we had never before known.

He recognized the importance of government support of scientific research and development, especially in universities, and the concomitant support for the education of a scientific workforce.

And, at the same time, while he did not speak directly to it, he framed the very challenge we face today, the challenge of advancing the pursuit of the endless frontier by making science and technology more accessible to all.

To reiterate, the steps for doing so are clear:

First, we must improve funding for basic research and attract more talented young people to scientific and engineering research by making clearer the critical role of basic research in all scientific and technological fields, and by backing this belief with public and private funding.

Second, we must work to ensure that the "pipeline" of future scientists and technologists is full, and that it fully represents the shifting demographic foundation of our population, using this as an opportunity to bridge the digital divide.

This requires that we must find ways to increase early exposure to science and technology. We must find new ways to excite the youngest among us, and to increase understanding among their elders.

Third, we must make the teaching of pre-college science and mathematics an attractive career option. Not just on a part-time or ad hoc basis but with a full-time, carefully planned approach.

Fourth, we must learn to harness better the very technology of which we teach to improve HOW we teach.

And, fifth, we must infuse into all of our science and technology offerings at the university levels — both undergraduate and graduate, and at the high school level — teachings on the issues of ethics — to better prepare the leaders of tomorrow with the ability to cope with the ethical dilemmas they are sure to face.

The challenges are great, to be sure.

The solutions — though not simple in themselves — are found within each of these challenges.

And the opportunities are endless.

It is up to each of us to meet these challenges, to find and apply solutions, and to realize opportunities.

And it is up to each of us to understand that success in all of this depends not on our scientific or technological abilities alone, but equally on our ability to see beyond our specific fields of study, and our specific interests to appreciate more fully how they fit into the larger picture that is life.

And to any scientific colleagues I may have in the audience this evening, who but scientists themselves have a responsibility to shape public understanding — and comfort — relative to the importance of science and technology to the world, the importance of education of the future workforce in science and technology, and to grapple with the dilemmas that technological advances always pose?

We must apply the same levels of energy and intellect to these challenges as we do to the daily exploration and exploitation of science itself.

For it is through this kind of effort, that we can ensure the continued and even accelerated pursuit of the endless frontier.

Thank you.

Source citations are available from the division of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Statistical data contained herein were factually accurate at the time it was delivered. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assumes no duty to change it to reflect new developments.

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