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Mr. President, What About...?

Boston-Scientists who advise the president face a dilemma. Their advice must remain confidential if it is to be useful. Yet their authority ultimately is derived from public acceptance of their technical expertise. Last month, at the annual meeting here of the Amencan Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinguished panel of past and present science advisers discussed how best to advise the president. Although the day-long symposium was spawned by the frustration and disappointment

Jeffrey Mervis

Boston-Scientists who advise the president face a dilemma. Their advice must remain confidential if it is to be useful. Yet their authority ultimately is derived from public acceptance of their technical expertise.

Last month, at the annual meeting here of the Amencan Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinguished panel of past and present science advisers discussed how best to advise the president. Although the day-long symposium was spawned by the frustration and disappointment many scientists feel toward the perceived weakness of the current mechanism, the panelists could not agree on any of the major issues or structures proposed. Among the topics they wrestled with were:

"Structure—The current White House Science Council needs to be replaced with an updated version of the Presidential Science Advisory Council created by President Eisenhower and dissolved by President Nixon, suggested Harvard’s Lewis Branscomb, former chairman of the National Science Board. Branscomb...

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