WASHINGTON--Although it's been touted as the first scientific group to report to the president in 15 years and a symbol of George Bush's commitment to science, the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology was sworn in last month with little pomp and circumstance.

With barely two hours' notice to the press and no written descriptions of the backgrounds of its 12 prominent members, Vice President Dan Quayle administered the oath of office and then, after a few comments, left without introducing the advisers. Quayle was pinchhitting for the president, who, ironically, was speaking about the importance of science during a visit to two research facilities in the South.

Only after prompting from the audience did Allan Bromley, the president's science adviser and chairman of the new council, recite the credentials of his colleagues. Then they, too, were whisked away, before reporters had a chance to ask any questions....

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