The United States Congress has a lot to worry about these days, such as massive budget deficits and signs of an impending economic recession. One thing Congress apparently is not very worried about is sustaining an adequate level of support for scientific research. But it should worry, because of the economic impact of R&D on the U.S. economy.

Nobelist Leon Lederman, president-elect of AAAS, recently discussed the science funding crisis in an address before the Science Policy Association at the New York Academy of Sciences. In providing strong evidence of the decline in American support of "little science," he referred to studies by Edwin Mansfield, a University of Pennsylvania economist whose work on the economic impact of basic research I've long admired.

Mansfield's studies support the conclusion that scientific research has a significant and direct impact on the economy, accounting for a large portion of U.S. economic growth and productivity....

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