The dilemma of the golden age



These are confused and troubling times for science and the scientific community. Limits on resources have made visible serious differences within our community, differences that may weaken the nation's scientific enterprise if they are not resolved without acrimony.

We face the dilemma of living in both the best and worst of times. In all fields of science, the journals and professional meetings are filled with exciting and challenging reports of new discoveries, new ideas, new applications. At the same time, President Reagan's proposed budget for 1989 is the strongest budget in support of science and technology in recent history. Yet that budget is in difficulty with an essentially proscience Congress, and it has divided the scientific community. The United States supports more scientific research than Western Europe and Japan combined, and our system of universities and national and industrial laboratories is the envy of the world. Why then is our community in an unprecedented state of stress and internal dissension? That is the issue I want to confront. That is the issue that we as an academy must confront.