New ACS Building Dedicated in Washington

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  • New ACS Building Dedicated in Washington Washington, D.C., where the Ameri-can Chemical Society dedicated its new headquarters building last week, is a city of many-sided character. It is, for example, a city of striking build-ings, among them the new ACS home at 16th and M Streets.

    But more basic than buildings to the nation's capital are the activities those buildings house. Events in Washington exert immense influence both in the U.S. and abroad. In some areas, such as taxation and foreign

    trade, that influence is quite apparent. In others, such as science and tech-nology, its effects are perhaps still not fully recognized (see next page for story), although they are much more apparent than in the past.

    There will always be room for the man who does his research with paper and pencil. But research and devel-opment more often than not require tools more costly than these. Thus Washington, as the seat of a govern-ment that will provide an estimated

    63% of all R&D funds spent in the nation in fiscal 1961, is clearly a major source of scientific influence.

    Washington is also headquarters for many nongovernment groups that play an influential role in research and de-velopment. The ACS is one of them. Such organizations promote the tech-nical interchange so important to sci-ence. They furnish a goodly share of the impetus that flows from Washing-ton into the nation's research and development effort.

    OCT. 10, 196 0 C&EN 21

    NEW HOME. ACS building is one of many in Washington that house groups influential in U.S. science

  • WASHINGTON: Center of Influence on Several years ago I estimated the total number of telephones in New York and Washington and counted the number of associations listed in the classified directories of the two cities. This bit of research led to the conclusion that if one dialed a number at random he was a little more likely to get a society or associa-tion headquarters in New York than in Washington. New York has the edge numerically, and there one finds the headquarters of most of the large engineer-ing societies, many of the great foundations, the American Institute of Physics, and other organizations of interest to scientists. Nevertheless, Washington is clearly the science capital of the nation. The Smithsonian Institution, the Na-tional Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, more recently the Na-tional Science Foundation, and other agencies of government that have scientific interests have helped make Washington an attractive location for the head-quarters of a scientific society. Of those that have chosen Washington, the American Chemical Society is one of the largest and most important.

    Having the ACS headquarters in Washington is important for chemistry. It is also helpful to a number of other scientific societies. Periodically the managing officers of the major societies representing biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, psychology, and other branches of science meet to discuss the many problems they have in common. The experience of the ACS has been generously shared with its sister societies in other fields.

    It seems a bit ridiculous to welcome the ACS to the location it has occupied for 18 years, but it is wholly appropriate and a real pleasure to extend greetings on behalf of the other associations that have made Washington their headquar-ters. A growing number of them have chosen locations within a few blocks of the handsome new ACS building. We know from experience that the ACS is a good neighbor; it is a pleasure to all of us to know that the ACS will be our friend and close associate for many years to come.

    Dael Wolfle Executive Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Activities in Washington, D.C., have always influenced scientific activities around the nation. In years gone by this influence stemmed chiefly from learned societies headquartered in Washington such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences, and from government lab-oratories. And, with headquarters in the nation's capitol, general scientific societies such as the American Associa-tion for the Advancement of Science and professional societies such as the American Chemical Society helped to increase the influence of Washington on the scientific community.

    But since the end of World War II Washington can truly be called the center of influence on U.S. science. Reason: the tremendous upsurge in government financial support for re-search and development. In fiscal 1940 the Federal Government spent $74 million to support research and development. In fiscal 1961 estimates put government spending for R&D at $8.5 billion, 63% of all the money to be spent on R&D in the nation. Most of the government sponsored research will be done in the laboratories of in-

    dustry, universities, and nonprofit re-search institutes under contracts or grants. As a result almost no area of scientific activity escapes the impact of Washington.

    Early Moves. The framers of the

    Constitution gave considerable thought to the place of science in the new Fed-eral Government. Plans were pro-posed to create a great national univer-sity in the nation's capital; other pro-posals would have established "pub-lic institutions, rewards, and immuni-ties for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, trades, and manufactures." However, in the final draft science is specifically mentioned only in the sec-tion which gives the Government the authority to issue patents to promote the progress of science.

    But the atmosphere was favorable for developing a close relationship be-tween government and science. In the words of chemist Joseph Priestley in an address to the American Philo-sophical Society near the end of the 18th century, "From what I have al-ready seen of the spirit of this coun-try, it will soon appear that Republican governments, in which every obstruc-tion is removed to the exertion of all kinds of talent, will be far more fav-ourable to science and the arts than any monarchial government has ever been."

    The first move to establish Wash-ington as a center of scientific influence came from the will of British chemist Joseph Smithson. Smithson be-queathed to the United States the equivalent of $500,000 "to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establish-

    THE BEGINNING. Washington's scientific influence began with the Smithsonian Institution, founded by Joseph Smithson, a British chemist

    22 C&EN OCT. 10, 1960

  • U.S. Science ment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." But it took 10 years of wrangling in Congress and in the scientific community to decide what the Smithsonian should be like.

    Some thought the money should be used to found a national university; others proposed a museum; still others thought a great library would fulfill the bequest. In 1846 Congress estab-lished the Smithsonian under a charter which gave its directors broad powers. And the Smithsonian's first secretary, Joseph Henry, set the policies which established the institution's influence on American science.

    Under Henry's guidance the Smith-sonian became a sponsor of research. This was done by giving grants to promising scientists and publishing the results of their research. And the Smithsonian set up projects of its own, such as determination of physical con-stants and ethnological studies of North American races, and chose sci-entists to do the work. By stressing the importance of research the Smith-sonian encouraged the study of theo-retical principles and the advancement of abstract knowledge.

    Academy Emerges. As the nation grew and technology became more complex the Federal Govemment found that many of its decisions in-volved scientific judgment. In 1863 Congress established the National Academy of Sciences, composed of

    outstanding scientists in the physical sciences. Purpose of the academy was to advise the Government on sci-entific matters when called upon by various government departments.

    But the academy did not confine its efforts to advising the Government. Although NAS received no federal money except that required to con-duct investigations and experiments for government agencies, funds were available from bequests and other private sources. Thus NAS was able to make grants to research workers. And the meetings of the academy, held in Washington, had a strong in-fluence on the development of science in the rest of the nation.

    Under the impact of World War I

    the National Research Council was created by Executive Order to be the operating subsidiary of NAS. NRC, with its broad representation of sci-entists and technologists, has widened the sphere of influence of the academy.

    NAS-NRC works through perma-nent committees, boards, and panels as well as ad hoc groups assembled for special purposes. This flexible ar-rangement brings together in appro-priate groups the most competent sci-entists and engineers in the country to deal broadly with scientific problems and exchange information on the latest research findings.

    The influence of NAS-NRC stretches beyond the borders of the United States. It has formal relations with its

    INFLUENCE. The National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1863, has had a strong influence on scientific development

    PENTAGON. The Department of Defense is the largest single source of funds for research and development in the U.S.

    OCT. 10, 1960 C & E N 23

    Federal Funds Dominate R&D Spending in U.S.

  • GRANTS FOR RESEARCH. Dr. Alan T. Waterman (center), director of the National Science Foundation, discusses research grants with senior staff members. During the past 10 years, the Government has become a big fac-tor in basic research through the activ-ities of the NSF

    counterparts in other countries and serves as the focus for American par-ticipation in international scientific activities. Most recent example of the academy's participation in large scale international scientific activities was the organization and supervision of the International Geophysical Year.

    Government Role. After the Civil War individual government agencies established laboratories to pursue sci-entific problems connected with their missions. By 1916 a great scientific organization had grown up within the Government in Washington. The Na-tional Bureau of Standards functioned partially as a national physical lab-oratory for industrial technology. The 3ureau of Mines was doing research on safety and technology for the bene-fit of the mining and petroleum indus-tries. The Agriculture Department had a well developed system of lab-oratories and many other agencies were doing scientific work.

    But World War I brought the con-cept of total mobilization and the realization that the Government's sci-entific needs went beyond the capabil-ities of government laboratories alone. From this grew government sponsored research contracts in industry, univer-sities, and research institutes.

    However, federal spending for re-search was only a fraction of the total money spend for R&D in the nation. In 1930 total spending for research and development was $166 million. In-, dustry spent $116 million, universities $20 million, and the Government $23 million. As late as 1940 the Govern-ment only spent $67 million for R&D out of a total of $345 million; industry spent $234 million and universities spent $31 million.

    With World War II the Federal Government became the dominant factor in financing research and de-velopment. During the war period 1941-45 the average annual expendi-ture for R&D amounted to $600 mil-lion. Of this amount the Government contributed $500 million, industry

    $80 million, and universities $10 mil-lion.

    The huge increase in government spending for research resulted from the war-time need to focus all the sci-entific resources of the country on weapons research. But the advent of the atomic bomb and the implications of the peaceful uses of atomic en-ergy made the entire country aware that science is a powerful political, economic, and social force and must be an integral part of government operations.

    Since the war the Federal Govern-ment has continued to dominate the financing of research and development, but not to the extent required by the war. In the 1950's the Government has put up more than 50% of the to-tal money spent each year for R&D. For example, in fiscal 1954 govern-ment financing accounted for 5 3 % of the $5.2 billion spent for R&D. Com-parable figures for fiscal 1957 were 59% of an $8.5 billion total, and in fiscal 1961 the Government will prob-ably supply 63% of an estimated $13.4 billion to be spent on R&D.

    The bulk of federal spending for

    research and development goes to projects connected with national de-fense. In fiscal 1959, for example, the Department of Defense accounted for 78% of all the federal funds for research and development. Thus the Pentagon is the largest single source of funds for R&D in the nation. In the same fiscal year three government agenciesDepartment of Defense, Atomic Energy Commission, and Na-tional Aeronautics and Space Admin-istrationaccounted for 92% of all federal spending for R&D.

    Most of the government R&D money goes for development because of the Government's need to use sci-entific knowledge to develop useful tools. In the past few years about 80% of the government funds have been allocated for development proj-ects. In its early days the National Aeronautics and Space Administration bucked this trend, spending 85% of its R&D funds for research in fiscal 1958. But in fiscal 1960 NASA spent only 36% of its R&D funds for research. And nearly two thirds of federal re-search funds go for projects related to fairly specific goals.

    24 C&EN OCT. 10, 1960

  • The National Science Foundation, established by Congress 10 years ago, has grown fast. During its first year of operation NSF's budget was only $3.5 million. But by fiscal 1960, NSF's budget had grown to $159 million. Purpose of the foundation is to support research and education through grants, fellowships, and other means. Through its programs NSF is helping to improve the caliber of training America's future scientists will receive. In fiscal 1960, NSF was able to support 26% of all proposals received.

    Washington exerts a strong influence on research in the nation because of the way the federal funds are spent. Through the system of research con-tracts and grants much of the money is channeled into industry, universities, and nonprofit research institutes and less government money is funneled into government laboratories. In fiscal 1954, 19% of the total money spent for R&D went to government laboratories; in fiscal 1960 it is estimated that this figure dropped to 14%.

    In the past decade the Federal Gov-ernment has become a big factor in basic research through the activities of the National Science Foundation. NSF was established by Congress in 1950 with the purpose of supporting research and education through grants, fellowships, and other...