Contributions To U.S. Science Author: Charles Meinhold
In the popular press, there is a tendency to equate science with big-ticket items like space exploration and the Human Genome Project, so that "small" science is relegated to the science section, if mentioned at all. But the contribution made to the national welfare by small scientific organizations can, in fact, loom large.
For example, essentially all of the United States standards for limiting exposure to ionizing radiation were originally developed by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), a small, voluntary scientific organization. For more than 60 years, NCRP has been making use of the talents of a cadre of outstanding volunteers to provide society with a scientific consensus on important problems connected with radiation. Those participating in the council's program come from every field of science related to radiation protection and measurements (both ionizing and nonionizing).
Seventy-five of these...