Date : December 12, 1994

Sixty-seven years ago, German physicist Werner Heisenberg informed us that we cannot determine with any degree of accuracy both the position and the momentum of a subatomic particle. This is the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of quantum mechanics.

This principle revolutionized high-energy physics, taught us to think in relativistic rather than absolute terms, and has guided subsequent generations of research scientists.

Heisenberg, of course, received the 1932 Nobel Prize for his trouble.

Today, science in the United States faces a new uncertainty principle. This principle says that we cannot forecast with much accuracy the position, the momentum, or the probable intersection of society's goals, the nation's political agenda, and the scientific merits of our national research enterprise.

Like Heisenberg's postulation, this new uncertainty principle is revolutionizing the management and the direction of America's labs, is teaching us to think in relativistic rather than absolute terms,...

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