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Mr: HILL. But how can you determine what that research is to consist of if you don't have an idea of what the invention is going to be? It seems to be an impossibility that you are trying to create.
Mr. PRIEST. When the scientists started working on nuclear fission, they were not thinking of the atomic bomb, or any special adaptations of energy. The research was on nuclear fission in the laboratory. From that, very many inventions come. That is the purpose of this bill: to encourage that basic research.
Mr. SADOWSKI. Mr. Chairman, I suggest we go ahead with the witnesses previously scheduled for this morning. This is not fair to them.
Mr. PRIEST. If you will send us your statement, we will be very happy to receive it for the record. Mr. Hill. Thank you. (No statement was supplied by Mr. Hill.) Mr. PRIEST. Dr. Potter of Purdue University.
STATEMENT OF A. A. POTTER, DEAN OF ENGINEERING, PURDUE
UNIVERSITY, LAFAYETTE, IND. Dr. POTTER. Mr. Chairman, I am A. A. Potter, chairman of the committee on national science legislation of the Engineers' Council for Professional Development. The Engineers' Council for Professional Development is a functional body representing the major engineering societies.
I also happen to be a member of the committee on science legislation of the Engineers’ Joint Council, which is also made up of the major engineering societies.
I was requested, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, to speak this morning by reason of my connection with the National Patent Planning Commission during the period from 1942 to 1945.
The National Patent Planning Commission was created on December 12, 1941, through Executive Order No. 8977 by the President of the United States. The Commission consisted of the following five members: Charles F. Kettering, Chester C. Davis, Francis P. Gaines, Edward F. McGrady, and Owen D. Young. The executive secretary of the Commission was the Commissioner of Patents, Conway P. Coe, and the executive director, Andrey A. Potter, dean of engineering at Purdue University.
Three reports were issued by the Commission in 1943, 1944, and 1945. In the preparation of these reports, the Commission realized that any changes in our patent system must insure maximum incentive to the inventor and definite encouragement to those who develop inventions into marketable products, keeping in mind that any weakening of our patent system would prove particularly harmful to the individual inventor of small means and to the thousands of small industries which Mr. Anderson has mentioned, which rely upon patented products to serve the public in competition with large corporations.
It must be remembered that nearly one-half of our patents are granted to individual inventors, more than one-third to small industries, and less than one-fifth to large industries.
Basing my judgment upon the studies of our patent system, which I made as executive director of the National Patent Planning Com
mission, I am not in accord with the views of those who claim that the bills now before Congress, creating a National Science Foundation, are detrimental to the American patent system. I am convinced that our patent system is the best and soundest in the entire world, is the very lifeblood of American industry, and is an absolute necessity for the protection of investment in research, development, manufacture, and sale of new patentable devices and processes for the benefit of the public. But I cannot see how the proposed legislation would in any way reduce or injure the effectiveness of our great American patent system.
The objective of the National Science Foundation legislation is to encourage basic research which is the very foundation of the inventions of tomorrow. Few patents result from basic research. Such inventions as may be developed with the funds of the National Science Foundation and they will be few—are protected by the wording in the bills now before the Congress, in that each contract is expected to contain provisions which will protect not only the public interest but also the equities of the individual or organization with which the contract is executed. Furthermore, there is a provision:
That nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the Foundation, by any contractual or other arrangements, to alter or modify any provision of law affecting the issuance or use of patents.
Basic research on a scale commensurate with the dominant position of the United States in applied research and invention is a pressing national emergency. The magnitude and urgency of the task make Government support of such research through a National Science Foundation a necessity.
The Engineers’ Joint Council, which represents the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineering, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which in a sense represent the entire engineering profession, has consistently evidenced deep interest and concern in basic scientific research and has endorsed legislation in favor of a National Science Foundation.
The type of legislation proposed in H. R. 12, H. R. 1845, S. 247, and other identical bills now before Congress is the raw material which the engineer and inventor must have in order to develop new and better products, and greater conveniences for the public.
I thank you.
Mr. PRIEST. Thank you, Mr. Biemiller.
Mr. Priest. Is Dr. Charles Waring in the room? Dr. Waring? STATEMENT OF CHARLES E. WARING, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT
OF CHEMISTRY, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT, STORRS, CONN.
Dr. WARING. Mr. Chairman, my name is Charles Waring. I am professor of chemistry and head of the chemistry department at the University of Connecticut. I appear here as chairman of a cominittee of the National Research Council.
Mr. O'HARA. Doctor, as a member of that council, you can tell me: Dr. Reyerson of the University of Minnesota is also a member, is he not?
Dr. WARING. Yes.
The panel on the Nation's potential for basic research in chemistry of the National Research Council is of the opinion that it is in the interest of national security to support scientific research in America at the highest possible level. History has proved time and again that nations which vigorously support scientific research have been in a better position to defend themselves in an emergency than are nations which have been backward in this respect.
If the United States is to maintain its world leadership in science and technology, it is imperative that its universities and nonprofit research institutions be provided with modern scientific apparatus and equipment. The depression of the thirties seriously reduced funds available to universities for research equipment. The war period took a heavy toll of existing equipment, with little or no opportunity for replacement. Complete modernization of laboratories would require a considerable capital expenditure. This means not only replacement and expansion of facilities for pure research, but also up-to-date apparatus for the training, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, of potential research workers.
Preliminary surveys by this panel indicate that the needs of universities and nonprofit research organizations for research equipment are substantial. Unless, in the establishment of the National Science Foundation, provision is made for grants to these institutions for purchase of permanent equipment, much of the effectiveness and intent of this act will be lost.
The importance of up-to-date equipment for research is well recognized by other countries. This is evidenced by the fact that a number of them have requested, and some have already received, funds from ECA for equipping their research laboratories with the best instruments and devices available. American scientists agree to the desirability of rehabilitating the laboratories of friendly foreign powers. At the same time scientists throughout the United States view with some concern the state to which the laboratories of our own universities and nonprofit institutions have deteriorated during the last 20 years. It is ironic that through ECA we are strengthening the scientific and technological potential of our present allies without giving due attention to the same problem in the United States.
The panel recommends that Congress give serious consideration to the matter of providing funds to universities and nonprofit research institutions for the purchase of scientific equipment for teaching and research to the end that the National Science Foundation when and if established may be of greatest benefit to the scientific effort of the United States.
Respectfully submitted, Warren C. Johnson, Lloyd H. Reyerson, and Charles E. Waring.
Mr. PRIEST. Thank you, Dr. Waring.
Mr. Waring, do you remember how much of the ECA funds were allocated to these foreign governments for the purpose of purchasing scientific equipment?
Dr. WARING. I don't have exact figures, Mr. O'Hara. I believe it was around $5,000,000 that went to Italy. I know Norway is requesting about the same, $5,000,000, I believe, and I understand that to South America funds are being appropriated for agricultural research.
Mr. O'HARA. In doing good all over the world, we are inclined to forget about ourselves.
Dr. WARING. Yes. That is our feeling, sir.
Mr. O'HARA. What do you think would be the cost in dollars of the equipment necessary for the scientific research in this country; equipment, I am speaking of. Do you have any idea ?
Dr. WARING. I would hesitate to quote figures that I would want to stand on after a survey. I would imagine it would be at least $5,000,000. We are making a survey now of, I think, 60 institutions chosen on the basis of large universities, medium-sized universities, and small colleges, which do no graduate work, and we hope to have those figures in our hands within 2 weeks. Mr. BIEMILLER. Mr. Chairman? Mr. PRIEST. Mr. Biemiller.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Doctor, are you referring to just the normal equipment of laboratories and similar research institutions, or are you thinking of equipment like cyclotrons, and the like, in your testimony?
Dr. WARING. We have in mind more or less the modern scientific equipment that is usually indigenous to most laboratories, modern spectrographs, for example, which would enable students to be trained with up-to-date equipment and also would turn out research at a higher level and at a faster rate.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Thank you.
Mr. O'HARA. Doctor, do you not think $5,000,000 would be rather a small start for laboratory and scientific equipment that might be needed in the colleges and research institutions of the country?
Dr. WARING. Yes; I do.
Dr. WARING. Well, I think that $5,000,000 would certainly be a start. I would not recommend $5,000,000 to this committe. As I say, I would not want to be quoted on that, because I might have different figures in 2 weeks, when we finish our survey. But so far, the indications have been, from small colleges, that they feel that they need fairly modest amounts for equipping their teaching laboratories with modern equipment.
We have been rather surprised at the returns that have come in. You would think that they would expect this to be a chance to grab at the barrel; instead of that, I think they are fairly honest.
Mr. Wilson. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Wilson. I want to ask you, because of the position in which you are, whether you entertain similar fears that any such foundation is foreign-inspired, or Communist-inspired.
Dr. WARING. No, sir; I do not.
May the Chair state that if there are others present who may have statements that they wish to be incorporated in the record, the committee will be very happy to have them at this point.
The Chair would like to ask also unanimous consent to include a number of statements, letters, and telegrams that have been sent in, at this point in the record.
Without objection, they will be included in the record. They all deal with the legislation under consideration at this time.
(The material referred to is as follows:) Re National Science Foundation bills, H. R. 12, 180, 311, 359, 1845, 2308, 2751, and S. 247.
CHICAGO, ILL., April 18, 1999, Hon. J. PERCY PRIEST, Chairman, Subcommittee Public Hea'th, Science, and Commerce of Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. O. DEAR CHAIRMAN PRIEST: Following are my views with respect to the above bills which I request be filed with the record that your committee is accumulating in the matter of a National Science Foundation.
I am a consulting chemical engineer and electrochemist. A large part of my experience during the past 39 years following my undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin has been in research and development work. I have been particularly interested in the development and commercialization of new processes and products based on such research. I am registered to practice in the U. S. Patent Office (patent agent). I also am a registered professional engineer of the State of Illinois.
The above bills, which are being considered by your committee, are based on the presumption that a National Science Foundation is necessary for the future well-being of the United States. A science foundation of the right type could be of much value but the above bills do not provide for that kind of a foundation, which is exemplified by the foundation recommended several years ago in the Bush report. That report embodied the ideas of four competent committees.
The above bills are highly objectionable because they insure political control. Such political control results in the loss of confidence in the foundation by most scientists and technically trained persons who demonstrated during the recent war that they can do a splendid scientific job if they are free from political domination. Political domination or interference of any kind must be eliminated, The following quotation from the March 1949 Chemical Bulletin (published by the Chicago section of the American Chemical Society) expresses one scientist's opinion and I concur in it: "Science is of all subjects the one that ought to be kept free of politics. With science, so many incredible things are possible that eventie most unsound ideas can be given an air of plausibility. For this reason, the intelligent politicians themselves prefer that the responsibility be given to people who know about science. Political domination is certain to result in waste, incompetence, and the pork barrel; conceivably, it could also result in the loss of scientific freedom and in the supplanting of able scientists by Lysenkos."
The above bills use the terms "basic scientific research," "fundamental research," and "scientific research relating to the national defense." Unfortunately, these terms are not defined in the bills. This leaves a big loophole for the carrying on of purely commercial or "applied" research, much of which would probably be defined as "engineering" by the true researcher. It should not be left to the courts to define "basic research," as we may end up with anything that can be done in a laboratory or with a slide rule in the absence of any clear delimitation by the scientists themselves.
As the Government takes on more and more of the commercial risks through the activities of a research foundation whose scope is not clearly limited, the field of private exploitation will be narrowed. As a result (again quoting from the Chemical Bulletin ) : "We will thus approach the totalitarian system in which the course of action is decided, not by the laws of supply and demand but by the all-wisdom of some central agency."
The following note of warning regarding Government-directed research was sounded by Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., in his address on the freedom of science, given on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the department of chemistry at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, on November 19, 1948 (reported