The same decision-making process was displayed by Fisher's Council of Competitiveness,which was formed in 1986 by a group of prominent leaders from industry and academia. Instead of requesting more for

research, the council asked Congress to take the billions now going into what it called "national prestige technology projects," such as the space station, the superconducting supercollider, the Hubble space telescope, the national aerospace plane, and the Human Genome Project, and put them into smaller efforts that promise a quicker economic return.

"That list could be expanded without much trouble," says Fisher. "We think it's time to look at these big-time projects and ask if their rate of development should be slowed." The council also asked the government to apply new criteria in making decisions about funding big science. "In allocating resources to its science and technology programs," the report suggests, "the government should consider the magnitude of the potential...

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?