In his piece on "Historians and Science Policy," J.L. Heilbron makes a timely point with his usual cogency and wit.

The science of the twentieth century is distinctive in its scale, its specialization and its close coupling with economic and military concerns. An individual instrument such as the Superconducting Supercollider may cost billions of dollars. The payoffs on research in biotechnology can make or break long-established corporations. Plainly, the mechanisms by which science policy is articulated must grow and change along with science itself.

Over the past decade, historians and sociologists of science have been hard at work analyzing the workings of the American scientific community in the twentieth century. That analysis reveals a science more complex and more human than any found in the textbooks. Our modern world of science has 'grown and thrived with the clash of interest groups; with the use of concepts, techniques and theory to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?