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have in the past been very interested in this legislation. Are there any questions, gentlemen?
I have just one brief question, Dr. Bronk. I think it can be very brief and will not require very much time at this point.
The chief purpose of this legislation is to foster and promote basic research as contrasted to applied research. I think if you could just very briefly give the definition at this point of the difference between basic and applied research it might be helpful?
Dr. BRONK. Perhaps it would be easier, Mr. Priest, if we were to define basic research as exploratory research, and that, I think, will make the contrast more apparent.
It is not possible to direct the course of an explorer to unexplored territory, and that I think is one of the primary characteristics of basic or exploratory research.
Applied research is the application of already discovered fundamental scientific knowledge to a specific objective, and that can be carried out under an organized system far more readily than can the exploration of the individual investigator.
Mr. PRIEST. Thank you, Dr. Bronk. It is always such a pleasure to have you before this committee.
Dr. BRONK. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF SIR ROBERT WATSON-WATT, LONDON S. W. 1
Mr. PRIEST. The subcommittee feels quite honored to have as a visitor here today one of the distinguished scientists of the world, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, who has come here to attend a science conference. He has now made his sixteenth visit to this country since Pearl Harbor. He has quite an array of titles. He is chief, telecommunications adviser to the Ministry of Civil Aviation; scientific adviser on telecommunications to the Air Ministry and to the Ministry of Supply; scientific adviser on radio aids to navigation in the Ministry of Transport; governing director of Sir Robert Watson-Watt & Partners, Ltd., who are scientific advisers and consultants to industry; vice president of the Institute of Navigation; president of the Royal Meteorological Society; fellow of the Royal Society of London; and enjoys the following honorary titles: Companion of the Bath; doctor of laws from St. Andrews; doctor of science from Toronto; United States medal for merit; Hughes medal of the Royal Society; and Valdemar Poulson medal of the Danish Academy of the Technical Sciences.
I feel that the subcommittee would like to hear whatever statement Sir Robert might have to make to this committee, knowing that he also has to catch a plane at noon.
We are pleased to invite you to take the chair and address the subcommittee, Sir Robert.
Sir ROBERT. Mr. Chairman, I consider it a very high honor and very exceptional privilege to be allowed to testify before this committee on some British experiences which appear to me to be closely related to the purpose of the bill which this House committee is considering.
The experience of the early stages of the war of 1914–18 led the British Government to the recognition that there were many, many
deficiencies in the provisions for adequate scientific knowledge for allocation in particular industries.
The Government in 1915 appointed a committee of the Privy Council on Scientific Research and to advise that Privy Council committee it appointed also an advisory council of distinguished leaders in science and in industry to advise on the directions which the serious deficiencies might best be made good.
In the following year, 1916, our Government department, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, was founded under direction of these two committees or councils. It was not concerned with medicine nor with agriculture and fisheries, because parallel organizations on a somewhat smaller scale were instituted for these separate subjects.
My own experience in the department and what I would like to say to the committee, sir, refers to science in its application to industry other than these very important subjects-agriculture, fisheries, and medicine,
The new department was given three major tasks: To institute specific research projects of value to industry, which should be confined to existing research organizations and predominant to the universities; it was invited to stabilize and assist the stability of new research institutions where these were deemed necessary; and it was given the third task of insuring that the supply of trained research workers to assist industry might be increased and improved by the grant of maintenance allowances and scholarships to promising recruits.
In all these things the department was instructed that it was to supplement and not to supplant the activities of existing agencies.
It founded or took over responsibility for four basic institutions: The National Physics Laboratory, already existing, which in great measure corresponds to your National Bureau of Standards; it founded the chemical research laboratory of corresponding scope; it became responsible for a geological survey dealing with general mineral resources; and a national coal survey dealing with national fuels.
It then turned its attentions to research toward meeting what one might call the primary needs of everyday existence—the needs of every human being for shelter, warmth, food, water, and transportation; and it founded research stations wholly financed from Government funds; wholly staffed by Government servants, to conduct fundamental research and short-term research in these connections.
In fact it founded the boating research station, a fuel research station, three stations concerned with the conservation of food, one dealing with low-temperature processes and another dealing specifically with fish preservation, one with fruit, and these were later supplemented by a fourth station for the study of pest infestation of stored products.
A station was set up to deal with the study of water pollution and an erosion research station dealing with one aspect of transportation.
But I feel, sir, that there is one thing that might particularly interest the committee and that is the cooperative research associations which were set up under the edict of the new department.
The department was given a substantial sum which was to be applied to giving financial support to research associations, which would have member firms, the firms that were already in a specific industry.
The finances would be drawn in the first instance almost equally from the subscriptions paid by these firms and by a corresponding nearly equal grant from Government funds.
But it was of the essence of the scheme that the associations once set up would be wholly autonomous. The degree of Government direction and policy and in programming was very small, indeed. The member firms appointed their own counsel and that counsel decided on the program of research to be carried out by the association; decided on the scale of its operations; and generally took full responsibility for the work of the association and retained the full proprietorship of the results which came from the researchers.
The associations were authorized to carry out confidential investigations for member firms against payment of costs by the firms, and they have done that within the limit that they are reluctant to do special work of that character if it would in any substantial measure interfere with the progress of the more general and more fundamental research for which they principally exist.
If, sir, I might put in a few figures indicating the financial scope of this work, I would try to say rather briefly, and not very accurately, the order of expenditure in the years around 1946 and 1947, the British Government expended approximately $275,000,000 on research for military and civil purposes in a representative year in that period. Of that total $35,000,000 were expended on civil research.
To these sums must be added about $30,000,000 which were given by way of grants to scientific departments in university institutions.
These totals required by associations from Government funds are now reduced to $3,500,000. British industry itself expended approximately $30,000,000 on industrial research in that typical year and of that $30,000,000, $5,500,000 represented subscriptions to their research associations.
When we add smaller sources of income the research associations then had a total income of $9,500,000.
Of the membership of these associations, taking only those firms in British industry which spent more than $4,000 per annum on scientific research, 90 percent had themselves, within their firms, independent industrial research laboratories; three-quarters of these firms belonged to one research association; more than half of them belonged to more than a single association; two-thirds of them have expressed a desire for an expansion of the research association scheme.
The research associations provide scientific information service and advisory service, a relatively large measure of long-term fundamental research likely to benefit every member of the industry, but they are also instructed to pay attention to short-term projects likely to give quick improvements in industrial enterprises.
I will not burden the record with a complete list of the research associations, but I think that a list that sounds almost like an alphabet of industry may be of interest.
There exist research associations of this character in the boot and shoe industry, in coal utilization, cocoa and confectionery, coke, colliery, cotton, electricity, flour milling, food manufaturing, the gas industry, internal combustion engines, iron and steel, jute, laundry, leather, linen, automobile and allied subjects, nonferrous metals, paint, paper, pottery, printing, production engineering, rayon, refractories, rubber, scientific instruments, shipbuilding, welding, and woolens.
It might be suggested that these foundations were associated with a comparatively recent enthusiasm in some forces for nationalization of industry. I think it is desirable that I should tell the committee that 2 of these associations were founded in the year 1918, 8 of them in the year 1919, and 12 of those which still exist had begun their operations in or before 1920.
"The member firms are clearly firms who are on the whole enthusiastic for private enterprise, and I would like to communicate to the committee the results of some inquiries made by my friend, Mr. Edwards, of the University of London, who has taken a very stringent survey of the present views of a large number of member firms in the research associations. He asked them four questions of this character: "Do you regard your subscription to a research association as a good investment?” And two-thirds of the firms to whom he put the question—and he did his best to assure a sound statistical coveragetwo-thirds of these firms said emphatically, “Yes, the subscription is in itself an investment with a good return."
He said, “Do you remember, without searching the depths of your memory, a clear example of the way in which your own firm has benefited from the work of the association ?" And again two-thirds of them said, “Yes, very clearly.”
He said, “Do you wish the associations to expand their activities?” And again, something over 60 percent said, “Yes, we do."
In one instance the work of the association was financed by a levy on the turn-over of the industry, and his fourth question was, “Do you think it desirable that the research associations should be financed by a levy on the industry?” And again, 60 to 65 percent of the firms replying said, “No, we think that the present method of financing is much superior to a levy.”
Perhaps I should end by saying, sir, that on top of the structure that I have outlined, we have now very recently in the United Kingdom added an advisory council on civil science, which advises the Lord President of the Council on the interrelation among all of the scientific bodies within government establishments and departments in the United Kingdom.
If, sir, I might finish by referring again to my conviction, I would like to state that this type of organization in the United Kingdom is popular not merely with the industrial user but is regarded as wise by all shades of political opinion. I would say the foundation of this great enterprise was laid by one of our greatest liberal statesmen, Lord Alden, and was carried immediately over from Lord Alden's care to that of one of our greatest conservative statesmen, Arthur J. Balfour, later Lord Balfour.
Finally, sir, if I might be allowed to state for the record that much of what I have tried to say, too briefly, is reviewed in two books of comparatively modest size, and I would ask to be allowed to read the titles and authors of these books for record purposes. One is entitled Industrial Research and Development, by Heath and Hetterington. Sir Frank Heath was the first civil-service head of the division and rendered a very great national service in that capacity. The second is a more recent book called Cooperative Research in Industry, by Dr. Douglas W. Hill.
I thank you, sir, for allowing me to express these statements, which I have tried to make as factual as possible.
Mr. Priest. Thank you, Sir Robert. We are indeed grateful to have you here as a visitor and as a witness before this committee.
I had just one question. I gathered from your statement that the emphasis in Britain rather largely is placed on applied research rather than basic research. Is that generally true?
Sir ROBERT. The emphasis within the department of scientific and industrial research, sir, was put in the first instance on an intermediate kind of research, not inquiring into the fundamental properties of matter, but in the details of these fundamental things which would be carried forward toward industrial processes. But I share, and I am sure that everyone concerned with research in Great Britain shares, the view that the frontier which we used to draw between pure research or basic research and applied or industrial research was always a very diffused frontier, and it is now almost invisible.
In my own subject, I should be quite unable to give a statement as to where radio research ceased to be academic, as it certainly was with Michael Faraday, Clark-Maxwell, and Hertz, and became industrial, as it certainly became with McKearney and his followers.
Mr. PRIEST. Your opinion in that respect seems to concur with that of the latest witness, Dr. Bronk, of Johns Hopkins. He thought the border line between the two was rather difficult to define.
Are there any other questions? I wonder if the chairman or the ranking member has any question?
Mr. CROSSER. I would like to ask the doctor whether or not he happens to be related to Isaac Watt.
Sir ROBERT. I have no scientific evidence on the subject, sir. I have negative evidence, which I hardly venture to put on the record in this august committee, that none of the financial benefits of James Watt's work have ever passed to my branch of the family, and so I assume that the connection, if any, is a very indirect one.
Mr. WOLVERTON. Mr. Chairman, you are to be commended in having brought before this committee two such outstanding witnesses as we have had the privilege of hearing this morning. The statement of Dr. Bronk was one of the most outstanding statements that has been made before this committee by any witness we have had before us at any time; and the statement by Sir Robert is likewise of an outstanding character, and it will aid this committee in its consideration of this important matter.
Mr. PRIEST. Sir Robert, we thank you, and we hope this sixteenth visit to this country since Pearl Harbor will be a pleasant one for you, sir.
Is Dr. Charles MacQuigg, of Ohio State University, in the room? Dr. MacQuigg was scheduled to testify today, and perhaps he has been somewhat delayed.
Is Dr. Bakhmeteff in the room? He was to be accompanied by a panel.
Were you supposed to testify? Mr. Cox. I am Mr. Cox. I was notified 15 minutes before the hearing took place, and I would like to testify if the chairman would see fit, sir.
Mr. PRIEST. We will be very happy to have Mr. Cox testify. The chairman has been informed that a number of planes from the West and from the East have been delayed this morning, and that accounts for the delay of some of the witnesses who were scheduled to testify.
Mr. Cox, will you state your full name and your title for the record ?