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Scientists Wary As New Year Dawns

The backbone of the United States' scientific enterprise - investigator-initiated research -- is being twisted by political forces that support high-profile but sometimes scientifically unjustifiable programs. To overcome those forces, say the nation's top researchers and science policymakers, scientists must put aside their interdisciplinary rivalries and work together to secure more support as well as more money for individual research initiatives. "The most important priority is for us to c

Julia King
The backbone of the United States' scientific enterprise - investigator-initiated research -- is being twisted by political forces that support high-profile but sometimes scientifically unjustifiable programs. To overcome those forces, say the nation's top researchers and science policymakers, scientists must put aside their interdisciplinary rivalries and work together to secure more support as well as more money for individual research initiatives.

"The most important priority is for us to come together and recognize that all of science is at stake," says presidential science adviser D. Allan Bromley. "I see it as a tremendously important task to relate the values -- and the value -- of science to the political system."

The views of Bromley, who as the country's highest ranking science policy official has the ear of President George Bush, are important and unquestionably influential. Also influential are the views of such scientific luminaries as Nobel physicists Leon Lederman, Philip...

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