Recently, in The Scientist ("Scientists Should Make Sure They Give NIH Proper Credit For Funding Their Research," Nov. 15, 1993, page 12), Samuel C. Silverstein, Frank W. Fitch, and John D. Loike made the critically important observation that not only the general public but also members of Congress grossly undervalue government-supported basic biomedical research for two reasons.

First, they reported, investigators fail to credit National Institutes of Health sponsorship of their work. Second, they noted, researchers do not clearly communicate the significance and utility of their basic findings to the advancement of medicine, the environment, or the economy.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), for example, views basic science efforts as "curiosity-driven activities," which she equates with pork. Members of Congress fail to see that usable concepts arise, as do oaks from acorns, through development and nurture of new, at first unappreciated, ideas.

Little wonder that the current administration, in its plans...

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