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By Vannevar Bush
Introduction By Dr. Frank B. Jewett

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W A SH IN G T O N , D. C.


Public Affairs Press, 2153 Florida Ave., Washington, D. C. Copyright, 1946, by American
Council on Public Affairs, M. B. Schnapper, Executive Secretary and Editor

Dr. Vannevar Bush has served his country and the world
with great distinction. During World War II he was the
initial Chairman of the National Defense Research Committee
and, since 1941, he has been the Director of the Office of Scien­
tific Research and Development. As head of the latter agency
he directed the mobilization of the entire civilian scientific and
technical power of the nation and welded it together into the
military establishment in the greatest industrial research and
development organization man has ever known.
At the age of 55, Dr. Bush has achieved distinction in many
fields of science and a position of power and esteem throughout
the world which few if any men of science have ever attained
to at any age.
What is especially striking about this extraordinary man is
that he has over the years contributed significantly to our scien­
tific knowledge and progress in many diverse ways—as a great
engineer, as the creator of the most complicated and powerful
mathematical tool ever devised, as the inventor of many ingeni­
ous devices, as the successful administrator of a jealously guard­
ed democratic society of scholars, as the brilliant director of one
of the world’s greatest research organizations, and, finally, as
the organizer, guiding spirit and driving force of the nation’s
scientific endeavors in a global war.
Clearly here is an unusual man, one in whom nature has seen
fit to compound harmoniously many elements, not the least of
which are those human characteristics which command the re­
spect, admiration and loyalty of men who are themselves able,
respected and admired. It is these intensely human char­
acteristics which implement intellectual ability and give men
endowed with them power to accomplish great things in great
times like the one the world is passing through.
In attempting in a limited space to voice an appraisal of Dr.



Endless Horizons

Bush, I do not know what I can do better than quote some pas­
sages from a statement I made several years ago in presenting
him for the Edison Medal of the American Institute of Electri­
cal Engineers:
“So varied are the fields to which he has turned the attention
of his fertile mind, and so uniformly has that attention served
to enrich them, that a poll among those who know him and his
work would develop a startling diversity of opinion as to first
place in the order of his claims to distinction. One has but to
go through the titles of his published papers and addresses and
the long list of his patents to be impressed by the catholicity and
power of his mind. Those of us who know him well, however,
know that the published record represents but a small fraction
of his diversified interests. There is little or nothing in this
published record of his equipment for automatically regulating
the proper sprinkling of plants in a greenhouse j of his experi­
ments in photography and with viviparous tropical fish j of his
prowess as a navigator and skipper of ocean cruisers, or in the
scientific commercial raising of turkeys. These and many others,
I suspect, he looks upon as relaxation avocations.
“If you are interested in forming an appraisal from the
permanent record you must supplement the list of his scientific
and technical work—largely in the field of electricity and engi­
neering—by his contributions to technical education and its ad­
ministration. You must read his reports on the patent system,
his testimony before Congressional committees, and above all,
his annual reports as president of the Carnegie Institution of
“It is a far cry from the ability required to design apparatus
for transferring heat mechanically, or a lubricating system for
vehicle wheel bearings, to that required to conceive and design
the most powerful mathematical engine ever devised. By all
customary standards it is a farther cry still from the type of
mind which can devise a new electronic tube of a complicated
radio set to one which can administer and direct creatively a
great diversified fundamental science undertaking like the Car­



negie Institution. Beyond that even is the greater gap which
separates the quiet of the laboratory from the turmoil of the
directorship of the Office of Scientific Research and Develop­
ment of a nation at war, where all that is potential in civilian
science and technology has to be forged for a maximum of con­
flict power in a minimum of time and with a minimum of con­
flict in the forging, where the job to be done is only partially
one of dealing with inanimate things and largely one of dealing
with strong and frequently perverse men. I never cease to
marvel at a man who in days filled with such turmoil can find
the time, and, above all, the philosophical detachment needed
to formulate a state paper like the recent letter to Senator Kil­
gore on the problem of technological mobilization.
Even if time permitted, I am not competent to appraise
and judge most of Dr. Bush’s scientific contributions, except
insofar as they can be judged by their end results. Rather, I
find it pleasanter to deal with the man himself as I know him.
“I first came to know Vannevar Bush at New London, Con­
necticut, during World War I, when, as a young man, he came
to the antisubmarine laboratory. Even then I was struck with
those characteristics which I was to find later were the hallmarks
of the man—a brilliant versatile mind; an intense interest
in and curiosity about everything that came within his ken; an
uncanny ability to illuminate the dark corners of any matter to
which he gave his attention; his fairness, simplicity and lack
and ab°Ve a11’ his comPlete intellectual honesty.
hue I know he wasn’t born there, I always think of Bush
as a Cape Codder. His roots are deep in the soil of that his­
toric bit of sterile land on which our forefathers landed, and,
metaphorically speaking, his shoes are full of its sand. Like
thousands of others before him who have gone a-pioneering on
and and sea, he returns there periodically to replenish that
sand and so insure keeping himself a realist in a too frequently
unrealistic world.
Better than most men he can fight vigorously with any of
the weapons men employ and do it without rancor. I have yet



Endless Horizons

to see a case in which there was any aftermath of hard feeling
or in which the feeling of respect and affection for him was
not enhanced in the erstwhile antagonist.
“What I have sought to convey is the impression of a very
able, very human man in whom are combined great ability,
great energy, a great sense of reality, and the power of absolute
truth, together with all the common qualities of men, including
an ability to make mistakes. Unlike many men, he can and
does admit error without losing face either with himself or any­
one else; rather, he enhances it.”
The details of Dr. Bush’s life and some of his achievements
are listed briefly in Who's Who in America and American Men
of Science. The essential facts are these: Dr. Bush was born in
Everett, Massachusetts, March 11, 1890. He was graduated
from Tufts College in 1913 with the degree of B.S. and M.S.
and in 1916 he received the degree of Eng. D. simultaneously
from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He
joined the faculty of M.I.T. in 1919, became Professor of
Electrical Engineering in 1923, and Vice President and Dean
of Engineering in 1932. In 1939 he was elected President of
the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
The papers here assembled give but a general outline of the
range of Dr. Bush’s interests. However, they show something
of his basic philosophy and of his methods of approach—the one
well thought out and consistent; the other, independent, direct
and incisive.

That much of his forward looking picture is destined to pro­
duce controversy is inevitable and in some cases, I suspect, in­
tended. Of one thing I am certain, however, and that is that
however much men may differ from him they will not question
his motives nor his intellectual honesty.

Some day someone who can do justice to it will write the
story of Dr. Bush’s achievements as the Director of OSRD and
of the debt the nation owes him.
F R A N K B. J E W E T T ,

President, National Academy of Sciences.

Brought together at the suggestion of the American Council
on Public Affairs, the material in this book is drawn chiefly
from the author’s recent writings, speeches, and reports with
regard to the problems and opportunities confronting science.
Portions of the original texts have to some extent been revised
and adapted in terms of those considerations which are of
especial importance at the present time.
The sources of the various chapters are cited below:
“The Inscrutable Past,” Technology Review, January, 1933.
“As We May Think,” Atlantic Monthly, July, 1945.
“A Program for Tomorrow,” “The War Against Disease,”
“The Public Welfare,” “Renewal of Scientific Talent,” “Re­
conversion Opportunities,” “The Means to the End,” Report
to the President, July, 1945.
“Research on Military Problems,” statement before the Se­
lect Committee on Postwar Military Policy, House of Repre­
sentatives, January 26, 1945.
“Control of Atomic Energy,” statement before the Senate
Special Committee on Atomic Energy, December 3 , 1945.
“Research and the War Effort,” address before the Ameri­
can Institute of Electrical Engineers, January 26, 1943.
“The Teamwork of Technicians,” address before the Na­
tional Institute of Social Sciences, May 23, 1945.
“The Qualities of a Profession,” address before the Ameri­
can Engineering Council, January 13, 1939.
Our Tradition of Opportunity,” address before the Ameri­
can Institute of Electrical Engineers, January 26, 1944.
The Need for Patent Reforms,” Report of the Science Ad­
visory Board’s Committee on the Relation of the Patent Sys­
tem to the Stimulation of New Industries, April 1, 1935. (The
other signers of the report, to whom grateful acknowledgment
is made, were W. H. Carrier, Chairman of the Board of the



V lll

Endless Horizons

Carrier Engineer Corp.j D. M. Compton, industrial consul­
tant ; Dr. Frank B. Jewett, Vice President of the American
Telephone and Telegraph Co., and President of the Bell Tele­
phone Laboratories 5 and H. A. Poillon, President of the Re­
search Corporation.)
“Science for World Service,” address before the New York
Herald-Tribune Forum on Current Problems, October 31,
Throughout the preparation of this book for publication, Mr.
F. G. Fassett, Jr., Director of the Office of Publications, Car­
negie Institution of Washington, provided invaluable counsel
and assistance. Helpful advice was also extended by Mr. Carroll L. Wilson, Executive Assistant, and Dr. Lyman Chalkley,
Assistant to the Director, Office of Scientific Research and

The Inscrutable Past__________________________
As We May Think___________________________
A Program for Tomorrow_____________________
The War Against Disease__________________
The Public Welfare__________________________
Renewal of Scientific Talent____________________
Reconversion Opportunities____________________
The Means to the End______________________
Research on Military Problems________________
The Control of Atomic Energy________________
Research and the War Effort___________________
The Teamwork of Technicians__________________
The Qualities of a Profession___________________
Our Tradition of Opportunity__________________
The Need for Patent Reforms__________________
Science for World Service_____________________
The Builders ________________________







A review of the mode of living of our forefathers, if it is to
be useful, should be sympathetic in its attitude. The lapse of
time often obscures the difficulties surrounding a former gen­
eration, and we are apt to smile at crudities when a just esti­
mate should rather leave us to marvel that so much was accom­
plished with so little.
It is especially pertinent that we should review the technical
accomplishments of another period only in the light of the
contemporary science. Otherwise, we may well be guilty of a
patronizing complacency, and as a result lose the benefit to be
derived from a really analytical view of history.
Take the early Nineteen-Thirties as an example. From this
distance the mechanical aspects of that time certainly appear
grotesque} but, when we realize that this was the period when
physics was in the throes of conflicting and essentially indepen­
dent theories, the fact that applications were made at all is
We read of the trials of the men of that day and wonder that
they could have been apparently content with their mode of
life, its discomforts, and its annoyances. Instead, we should
admire them for having made the best of a hard situation, and
treasure the rugged qualities which they exemplified. It is
possible that by taking our minds back, divesting them of their
modern knowledge, and then studying these bygone days in an
attempt really to appreciate their true worth, we should lose
some of our satisfaction with respect to the technical accom­
plishments of our own generation, and be better prepared for
advance. At least it is worth the attempt.



Endless Horizons

Those were interesting times when the second Roosevelt
was elected, and the world was in the midst of the last great
economic readjustment. It was a time of transition, evident
enough as we now regard it, but perhaps not wholly appreciated
at the moment. It was marked by great extremes j the United
States were just emerging from the prohibition experiment, and
international affairs were chaotic. The system of distribution
had nearly broken down, and there was little real control of
production. No one really understood the monetary system
under which the civilized world then tried to operate, and
which was based on the curious process of laboriously digging
gold out of one hole in the ground in order equally labori­
ously to bury it in another. Hence, it is illuminating to review
the life of a plain citizen of the period and the nature of his

Consider, for example, a professor in some northern urban
university, and let us attempt to appreciate the sort of life he
led, with a sympathetic attempt to evaluate the extent to which
his efforts were circumscribed by the hardships and discomforts
of his daily existence.
It is necessary at the outset to realize that he was in the pe­
culiar position of being regarded by many of his fellow coun­
trymen as of outstanding intellect; while at the same time his
scale of living was decidedly middle-class. Yet he had much
of comfort, in the way that comfort was then regarded, and un­
doubtedly he considered himself well off.
He probably owned an automobile, for example, and in this
he proceeded from his home to his work. In many ways his
car was embryonic, for it was, of course, a relatively new devel­
opment. To get it under way, he first started the engine turn­
ing over while entirely free from any operative connection with
the vehicle, and then he had to go through 14 separate motions
with his hands and feet before getting the car up to full speed.
It seems hard to realize that this situation could have been long

The Inscrutable Past


tolerated, but actually it persisted for years. Moreover, these
motions, of various pedals and a hand lever, had to be carried
through in a rigid sequence and with a fairly careful timing of
the operations. A clumsiness, such as performing one act out
of proper sequence, would spoil the whole affair, and the pro­
fessor would practically have to start all over. Yet people of
all degrees learned this ritual and drove cars everywhere. Nor
were these motor cars of the Nineteen-Thirties toys, for in a
curious delusion that weight and riding qualities were insep­
arable, even the better grades of automobiles were built so
heavy that they weighed several hundred pounds per pas­
senger, a total weight of as much as 4,000 pounds being not
On nearly all highways traffic moved in both directions at
the same time! Moreover pedestrians crossed these roads at
the same level. There was no drying of streets in the cities, so
that they were often wet, and, in extreme weather, covered
with ice. Car speeds seldom got above 60 miles per hour, but
under conditions which then obtained, there was a carnage and
literally tens of thousands were killed yearly in the country.
Right in the hearts of cities there were grade intersections of
important streets and practically no elevated arteries. The law
officer who was often stationed at points where important ar­
teries intersected on a level, and who attempted to regulate
traffic by whistling and waving his arms, was often a diverting
spectacle. His antics are still recalled with amusement by some
of my elderly colleagues. No wonder our professor arrived at
work with his nerves somewhat frayed, and that the scientific
writings of the time reflect a sort of general nervousness and
a haste to publish fragmentary findings.
It is hard to suppress untoward amusement and to preserve
the sympathetic attitude when one considers the clothing which
our professor wore. It was put on in layers, and, while the
ower layer was periodically washed, the other layers were often
won\ practically continuously until they disintegrated, with
only infrequent dips into various solvents. In spite of this in-



Endless Horizons

tentional protection of the top layers from contact with water,
they sagged and stretched, and this tendency was ineffectually
combated by occasional pressing by a highly heated metal im­
plement. If caught out in the rain—for accidental sprinkling
accelerated this process of deformation—the professor would
don still another layer called a raincoat, so designed that it
drained the water principally into his shoes. These shoes, by
the way, were never thoroughly washed or even cleansed with
solvents. They were daubed over occasionally with an imper­
manent varnish, which was given some specular reflection by
rubbing with a cloth, but which was not really waterproof. The
shoes were of natural leather, close-fitting and entirely unventi­
lated, and fastened in position with lacing cords, which fre­
quently became entangled. The fastening of his clothes gen­
erally was by buttons. Even though sleeves did not open, but­
tons were still retained in position at his wrists, where they were
actually quite inconvenient, as a sort of atrophied appendage.
He wore a collar about his neck, kept meticulously white by fre­
quent changing, as a sort of obvious presentation of one thor­
oughly clean portion of clothing. Some of his collars were
rendered stiff and irritating by saturation with vegetable
starches. They were surrounded by highly colored ornamented
bands which he tied in intricate knots and adjusted with careful
The lenses by which his vision was corrected were wired to
his ears, or else held on by pincers which gripped his nose. As
his accommodation was faulty he carried two sets of lenses
which he alternated in position on his face, carrying the spare
in a little metal box. Some of his colleagues wore both sets of
lenses at the same time, made into a combination called bifocals,
so that they could produce the effect of changing lenses by
tipping the head and inclining the eyeballs. Of course with
this arrangement they went about with their feet and the
ground in their vicinity in a perpetual haze.
In his office the professor ordinarily found other conditions
hardly conducive to logical thought. Right in the midst of

The Inscrutable Past


his most careful musings, anyone, not merely his chosen friends
and colleagues, but literally anyone, could interrupt instantly
by calling him on the telephone. A bell would ring in his
office and convention demanded that he should immediately
cease everything else and answer. There was no provision
whatever by which a conversation ensued only when both par­
ties had indicated willingness; even tradesmen in the city could
initiate the ordeal. In answering, it was necessary that the
professor practically wrap himself up in an instrument. He
would hold one gadget to his ear and another to his mouth, and
entangled in the connecting wires, proceed to try to talk. Some
forms of equipment, then just going out, but strangely enough
persisting longest in this country, even required the use of both
hands as well as the vocal organs.
The sounds heard over the telephone of the day were rec­
ognizable, but hardly natural, for only a fifth of the useful fre­
quency spectrum, or even less, was transmitted. In fact, peo­
ple habitually listened to radio music in which there was less
than one-third the spectrum present, although scant enthusiasm
for the result has come down to us, except in the amusing and
rhapsodic advertising of the times.
Our professor was bound to be fairly uncomfortable for other
reasons. His office was heated in winter, of course, but in sum­
mer was left to its own devices with the window open to admit
the dirt and noise of the city and the hot, humid air. Even in
winter, while there might possibly have been some control of
air temperature aside from his own chance manual regulation,
there certainly was none of humidity. Also the walls of his
office, with none too certain thermal insulation from the out­
side conditions, took up almost any temperature whatever, and
the conditions for his bodily radiation varied in a wide and
erratic manner. It is strange that these matters were so com­
pletely ignored, for they are hardly mentioned in the technical
literature of the time, although certainly engineers should have
been somewhat conversant with the laws of radiation, if not of



Endless Horizons

Somewhere on the premises of the college there was a heat­
ing plant, which probably consisted of simply a coal fire with
some distribution medium such as steam. For every thermal
unit released by burning coal, there was transmitted into the
building actually less than a thermal unit, so that the process
was highly inefficient. Thermal pumps were in the early stages
of development, and the central stations played little part in
the heating of a city except perhaps to operate coal-burning
heating plants of their own and sell steam.

The most striking feature of our professor’s day, however,
and one which he considered an important part of his work,
was the giving of lectures. He would stand up in front of a
group of 50 students or so and orally recite a bit of scientific
matter, perhaps meanwhile drawing crude diagrams on a large
flat black surface with a white crayon. This was done not alone
in the presentation of new thoughts and researches, but as a
means of imparting well-known information to students. It
would not disturb him in the least that a hundred other pro­
fessors in various parts of the country might be doing exactly
the same thing at the same time. It was the custom of the day
that he should appear personally for this ceremony, although it
would have been possible even then to prepare a much more
finished presentation by vocal cinema, realizing of course that it
would not have been stereoscopic and that the articulation
might have been a bit crude. Thus a fair fraction of our pro­
fessor’s time was occupied in a rehash of the well-known before
large groups, where anything approaching Socratic dialogue
was patently impossible. Another amusing feature of these
lectures was the so-called taking of notes by the students, who
attempted by simple pencil and paper to reproduce important
ideas as the affair proceeded. The results were naturally frag­
mentary, but we must remember that under the then existing
system a word once spoken was lost unless recorded in some
such manner.
At noon the professor might take a walk, either because of
assumed benefit to the functioning of his organic processes, or

The Inscrutable Past


more likely as a temporary means of escape from the distrac­
tions of his office. If the latter incentive was his reason, the
attempt was likely to be unsuccessful. The streets were heavy
with the odor and smoke which nearby factories poured freely
into the air almost without restraint. The price paid by the
public for thus distributing unburned fuel on the breeze, and
later abstracting it from draperies and clothing, was startling.
One statistically-inclined person computed that no less than
70,000,000 tons of soot fell on the country every year, so that
all the buildings were soon dingy and the sun was at times
He would also meet with din and confusion. Electric cars
on rails, with hard steel wheels and steel spur gears, were still
used for urban traffic. They made so much noise that one could
literally be heard a mile away on a still night. Every auto­
mobile carried noise-making apparatus, usually in the form of
a diaphragm operated by an electric vibrator, ostensibly for the
purpose of cautioning pedestrians, although one wonders how
an incautious one could have been extant. Automobile engines,
burning highly volatile refined hydrocarbons, filled the air
with carbon monoxide due to faulty combustion. Worse yet,
there was a furor at about this time for the use of admixtures
of anti-detonants. These were really useful in view of the
nature of the fuel on the market commercially and its com­
plete admission before compression, and a very popular type
incidentally consisted of tetraethyl lead. Apparently these ex­
haust gases did little real harm to the pedestrians, although the
data on the point were then incomplete, but the knowledge of
their presence in the air was disturbing, at least to the scien­
tifically minded.
An airplane or two may have roared overhead with un­
muffled exhausts during this noon-hour walk, for there were
quite a few planes in use. The professor probably watched
these with a bit of trepidation. In the event of even minor
power-plant difficulty they were obliged to land immediately
and precipitately at high ground speed. There were no landing



Endless Horizons

spots on buildings, nor could they have been used if present,
for the planes of the commercial routes came to the ground
while still traveling as much as 60 miles an hour. The slightest
fog was a serious matter, for it could not be dissipated, and
there was no way in which the pilot of the usual commercial
plane could get his position accurately with respect to the field
except by visual observation. In order to travel by plane one
usually had first to make an intricate automobile trip from the
center of the city out to a field in the country, and then, if there
were fog or heavy rain, the trips would be cancelled. In spite
of all these enormous handicaps a few courageous pioneers
operated passenger lines and succeeded in giving acceptable
Of course the existing competition in the field of long­
distance transportation had its disadvantages. Electrification
of railroads had not proceeded far, and it was a common sight
to see a great steam locomotive belching smoke and steam,
radiating expensive heat units broadcast, and puffing away at
its load. The driver leaned out of a side window in the rear,
one end of him baked and the other end frozen. When the
track curved the right way, he could see ahead. In order to
start a train—for roller bearings were just appearing on rail­
road cars—the locomotive would first back up to take up the
slack in couplings, and then go ahead with a great bumping
and crashing, much to the discomfort of passengers. Air con­
ditioning was also in its infancy, and the atmosphere in the
rear coaches of a train on a hot, dry summer day rocking across
the country on uneven wood-ties and an unoiled roadbed may
be imagined. The picture is more unattractive if one considers
that sanitary arrangements were still somewhat barbarous.
Trains were enormously heavy and when well up to speed
required a long distance in which to stop, for brakes were sim­
ply pieces of cast iron pressed onto the steel wheels by air pres­
sure. There were many highway crossings at grade, some of
them actually without any automatic protection except a bell
brought down from the old horse-drawn carriage days and in-

The Inscrutable Past


audible to an automobile driver except when actually abreast,
and not even then in a high wind. The locomotives carried
shrieking whistles which blew almost constantly, much to the
discomfiture of the countryside, but there were of course many
grade crossing accidents.
Lunch for our professor was a ceremony of a sort. Nearly
all the ingredients were of natural origin with very little in the
way of synthetics or products of the biological industries. The
foods were attractive in their way, but chosen almost at random,
and served in circumstances that were somewhat appalling. To
the discomforts noted in his office were added in the dining
room a complete intermixture of the odors of all the several
dishes and usually such incomplete ventilation that a blind man
could have told the instant he entered the door of a restaurant.
In fact he would not have had to depend upon his olfactory
sense, for the dishes were of various glasses and ceramic mate­
rials (as well as in some cases the tables themselves), so that
there was plenty of noise from the impact of hard materials.
On his return to the office, the same hectic round would con­
tinue. Perhaps in the afternoon the incessant clatter of type­
writers would be especially annoying. For letters were writ­
ten on typewriters, and there was a great deal of letter writing.
That was the only way of practically conveying ideas outside
of the archaic telephone and personal visit.
The library, to which our professor probably turned, was
enormous. Long banks of shelves contained tons of books, and
yet it was supposed to be a working library and not a museum.
He had to paw over cards, thumb pages, and delve by the hour.
It was time-wasting and exasperating indeed. Many of us well
remember the amazing incredulity which greeted the first pres­
entation of the unabridged dictionary on a square foot of film.
The idea that one might have the contents of a thousand vol­
umes located in a couple of cubic feet in a desk, so that by de­
pressing a few keys one could have a given page instantly pro­
jected before him, was regarded as the wildest sort of fancy.
This hesitation about accepting an idea, the basic soundness of


Endless Horizons

which could have been tested by a little arithmetic, is worthy
of more than passing notice. For the tenor of the age was to
welcome new inventions and theories. In fact the man on the
street was wont to visualize scientific triumphs as fails accom'plis even as they were being hatched in the laboratory. He
combined a simple credulity on some things, not erased even by
the singeing of the Big Bull Market of the late Twenties, with
a strange resistance to others. It seemed that the greater the
technical difficulties which accomplished some really revolu­
tionary proposition, the more casually the ordinary citizen ac­
cepted its consummation as being temporarily delayed but a
fortnight or so.
Television was a case in point. To read the contemporary
popular accounts one would suppose that the basic problem was
solved at least once a month for several years. Yet the public
seemed not to mind this crying of wolf, and quietly ignored
simple analyses which showed that to transmit the image
of a man’s face in recognizable fashion would require 50 times
the amount of communication channel adequate to transmit his
voice. And when the progress of television proved to be ex­
ceedingly slow (like many other things which in the ’Thirties
were asserted to be just around some corner), the layman was
positive that the retardation was because of some corporation’s
Somewhat the ordinary fellow of the ’Thirties, though he
was by no means so witless as he deemed himself when he
counted up his stock market losses in the earliest years of the
decade, was quite muddled in his thinking process as seen from
our present vantage point. He would, as I have said, readily
accept the solution of such a complex thing as television to be
imminent—as something he might find poking its way into
his bedroom unawares on a bright Sunday morning. But he
would consider a reasonable improvement in such an elemen­
tary thing as the arrangement of sleeping car space (it was
really being tried by the railroads at the time) as incapable of
realization for a couple of generations at least.

The Inscrutable Past


All about him he could see bridges, viaducts, steamships,
engines, and so on, being built in hitherto unprecedented sizes.
And, if some publicity agent issued an optimistic statement to
the press that in the coming year they would be built twice as
large again, he’d accept such a radical prediction with little
emotion. Yet, when it was proposed to make it practicable for
those who were neither too fat nor abnormally tall to undress
in an upper berth, his reaction was likely to be expressed in the
quaint vernacular of the day by some such expletive as “bolo­
ney” which, it seems, signified intense incredulity and an im­
patient skepticism.
As afternoon wore on the lights in the college buildings
would be started. These were undoubtedly of the incandescent
type in which a wire of tungsten in a gas-filled globe was heated
y direct passage of current. About 95 % of the energy fur­
nished the lamp went into heating the room. The color was
yellowish, and, as the sources were usually concentrated and
small, there was formed a complex system of shadows. Lights
would be forced on his attention again as he drove home, for
there were no polarizers and the full beams of an approaching
car would often strike in his eyes and temporarily blind him.
The professor’s home had been built in position by the hand
work of men of a dozen trades, who obtained materials by
small-sized purchases from as many dealers, and cut and fit
these materials on the site. It had meant an expensive capital
outlay, and as much as a fifth of his income went into fixed
charges on it. It had a cellar. This cellar, by way of explana­
tion, was a large hole dug in the ground under the residence,
and was a relic from the days when heating appliances required
a cellar for their distribution pipes, which were so dirty that
it was well to put them underground, and when thermal insula­
tion was so imperfect that a ground floor of a house without a
cellar was expected to be cold. Although these factors had
ceased to be determining, the cellar with its expensive excava­
tion had been continued as a sort of tradition.
Of course the house was immobile, and the idea of disassem-



Endless Horizons

bling and transporting a house to a new site would have been
considered quite radical. The heating plant was as crude as
the one at the office, and even less efficient on account of its
small size. Rooms were not soundproofed, hence many noises
could be heard all over the house. This was particularly true
of the plumbing fixtures, which made quite a racket. The
floors were covered with fabric rugs, with their store of lint
and dirt which was sometimes removed with a suction cleaner—
incidentally the noisiest implement in the place. Some of the
furniture was also fabric-covered and stuffed with natural
horsehair as a sort of pseudo-elastic filling. It is not pleasant
to contemplate in retrospect.
The excess of noise has been mentioned often in this review.
One would think there would have been general protest, but
the subject was only mildly mentioned in the contemporary
newspaper. There was, in fact, some indication that the people
generally liked to have a lot of noise about; at least they may
have considered that its presence was conducive to intense ac­
tivity in some manner. In no other way can we explain, for
example, a turnstile which had been installed in large numbers
in subways, and which was purposely arranged to give a loud
clack whenever it was operated. This same peculiar love of
noise was also exemplified in the contemporary music, which
throws so much light on the strained mass psychology of the
The typical newspaper of the Nineteen-Thirties was a large
affair, which reached truly ponderous proportions on Sunday.
A single edition would then contain as much as 500 square feet
of fine print. Of course no single individual could read all of
this, and most people read much less than one per cent. Yet
the forests were denuded—for paper was still made from pulp
obtained from fair-sized trees—in order to print this mass of
waste material. Bulky newspapers were one extravagance
chargeable against the mania for advertising which had reached
grotesque proportions. Nowhere were its extent and its meth­
ods more ludicrous than in the advertising of such things as

The Inscrutable Past


cigarettes. A single phrase, usually quite absurd, would be
repeated thousands of times in newspapers as well as on large
placards placed by the roadsides (of course entirely out of
harmony with the scenery), in trolley cars, and everywhere
where space could be found. All this was done at enormous
expense and without relief from the monotony of the repeti­
tion. One would expect there might have been a protest in the
form of a boycott of any article thus intrusively offered, but,
on the contrary, such methods apparently succeeded in their
purpose. The cost of distribution to a public with so little true
discrimination was, as we might expect, a heavy economic

Our professor, after his dinner, had many possible diver­
sions. It is very likely that he participated in one of the pe­
culiar popular pastimes which swept the country in sudden
waves at about this period in history, exemplifying again the
inexplicable mass psychology in force. One of these was a
game called contract bridge, which persisted for several years
and which was regarded with great seriousness by its devotees.
It was participated in by both sexes, although it is hard to
understand how their joint adherence to what was essentially
a cult for mental exercise came about. Very complicated and
artificial rules controlled the action, and the whole procedure
must have been wearying, although it was indulged in by large
sections of the population, sometimes to the substantial exclu­
sion of all other mental activity. The force of mass opinion
was so strong and individualism so repressed, that not to fol­
low the public whim of the moment was to lose social caste.
One of the strangest of these pastime manias occurred when
over $ 100 , 000,000 was spent in the building of small gardens
in which the participants knocked little white balls about among
various obstacles. This lasted, as would be expected, for only
a few months.


Endless Horizons

An epidemic of jig-saw puzzles also swept the land. Though
they were harmless in themselves, the distress of elderly peo­
ple and children alike when some piece or pieces dropped to the
floor and became hidden in some out-of-the-way place, was apt
to be expressed in fitful bursts of temper.
It is little wonder that under such hectic conditions many

professors developed otherwise unaccountable tendencies, and
that the science of the times was disjointed, heterogeneous, and
very much an opportunist affair. There should be the greatest
of admiration for one who could do any constructive thinking
at all when thus badgered about during the Nineteen-Thirties.

Today, quite correctly, we realize that all of the desirable
modifications of our natural environment, which are possible
through simple mechanical means, have been accomplished.
Even 20 years ago there were significant indications that the
door to progress along such lines was fast closing. About that
time the standing Congressional Committee, appointed to con­
sider the scope of the world’s scientific and technical progress
with special reference to its bearing upon matters to be dis­
cussed at a proposed conference to be convened for the further
discussion of inter-governmental debts, was able to include in
its preliminary report the convincing statement that every­
thing worth while had been done.
What a contrast to the Nineteen-Thirties! Then it should
have been possible, even by the most rudimentary of analyses,
to disclose attractive avenues for constructive effort.
It may be asked why, with all this opportunity, we had to
wait so long for the obvious. It could not have been because of
a lack of leisure} for there were emphatic contemporary com­
plaints that leisure engendered by the quickening of produc­
tion had become both burdensome and notoriously unwelcome.
Perhaps it was ascribable in a measure to the prevailing social
code which then forced all men to dress alike and, to some
extent, to think alike. Or, it may have been that the pressure

The Inscrutable Past


of advertising propaganda had induced a mass psychology
which led people to believe they had arrived at some sort of
mechanical Utopia with which they were in duty bound to be
These few suggestions are typical of the myriad of hypoth­
eses contained in the extensive literature dealing with this quite
amazing decade in the history of the Republic. From all the
thought given to the subject but one solitary fact emerges: the
Nineteen-Thirties still remain inscrutable.


World War II was not a scientist’s war; it was a war in
which all had a part. The scientists, burying their old profes­
sional competition in the demand of a common cause, shared
greatly and learned much. It was exhilarating to work in
effective partnership. Now, for many, this appears to be ap­
proaching an end. What are the scientists to do next?
For the biologists, and particularly for the medical scien­
tists, there can be little indecision, for their war work hardly
required them to leave the old paths. Many indeed were able
to carry on their war research in their familiar peacetime labo­
ratories. Their objectives remain much the same.
It is the physicists who were thrown most violently off
stride, who left academic pursuits for the making of strange
destructive gadgets, who had to devise new methods for their
unanticipated assignments. They did their part on the devices
that made it possible to turn back the enemy. They worked in
combined effort with the physicists of our allies. They felt
within themselves the stir of achievement. They were part of
a great team. Now one asks where they will find objectives
worthy of their best.

Of what lasting benefit has been man’s use of science and of
the new instruments which his research brought into existence?
First, they have increased his control of his material environ­
ment. They have improved his food, his clothing, his shelter;
they have increased his security and released him partly from
the bondage of bare existence. They have given him increased
knowledge of his own biological processes so that he has had

As We May Think


a progressive freedom from disease and an increased span of
life. They are illuminating the interactions of his physiological
and psychological functions, giving the promise of an im­
proved mental health.
Science has provided the swiftest communication between
individuals} it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled
man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so
that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a
race rather than that of an individual.
There is a growing mountain of research. But there is in­
creased evidence that we are being bogged down today as spe­
cialization extends. The investigator is staggered by the find­
ings and conclusions of thousands of other workers—many
of which he cannot find time to grasp, much less to remem­
ber, as they appear. Yet specialization becomes increasingly
necessary for progress, and the effort to bridge between disci­
plines is correspondingly superficial.
Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing
the results of research are generations old and by now are total­
ly inadequate for their purpose. If the aggregate time spent in
writing scholarly works and in reading them could be evalu­
ated, the ratio between these amounts of time might well be
startling. Those who conscientiously attempt to keep abreast
of current thought, even in restricted fields, by close and con­
tinuous reading might well shy away from an examination
calculated to show how much of the previous month’s efforts
could be produced on call. Mendel’s concept of the laws of
genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his pub­
lication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and
extending it} and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being
repeated all about us, as truly significant attainments become
lost in the mass of the inconsequential.
The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish un­
duly in view of the extent and variety of present-day interests,
but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our
present ability to make real use of the record. The summation



Endless Horizons

of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate
and the means we use for threading through the consequent
maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was
used in the days of square-rigged ships.
But there are signs of a change as new and powerful instru­
mentalities come into use. Photocells capable of seeing things
m a physical sense, advanced photography which can record
what is seen or even what is not, thermionic tubes capable of
controlling potent forces under the guidance of less power than
a mosquito uses to vibrate his wings, cathode ray tubes render­
ing visible an occurrence so brief that by comparison a micro­
second is a long time, relay combinations which will carry out
involved sequences of movements more reliably than any hu­
man operator and thousands of times as fast—there are plenty
of mechanical aids with which to effect a transformation in
scientific records.
Two centuries ago Leibnitz invented a calculating machine
which embodied most of the essential features of recent key­
board devices, but it could not then come into use. The eco­
nomics of the situation were against it: the labor involved in
constructmg it, before the days of mass production, exceeded
t ' u T V 0 ,bC Sar?d by its use> since a11 * couW accomplish
could be duplicated by sufficient use of pencil and paper. More­
over, it would have been subject to frequent breakdown, so
that it could not have been depended upon; for at that time
and long after, complexity and unreliability were synonymous.
. BabbaSe’ even with remarkably generous support for his
time, could not produce his great arithmetical machine. His
idea was sound enough, but construction and maintenance costs
were then too heavy. Had a Pharaoh been given detailed and
explicit designs of an automobile, and had he understood them
completely, it would have taxed the resources of his kingdom
to fashion the thousands of parts for a single car, and that car
would have broken down on the first trip to Giza.
Machines with interchangeable parts can now be constructed
with great economy of effort. In spite of much complexity,

As We May Think


they perform reliably. Witness the humble typewriter, or
the movie camera, or the automobile. Electrical contacts have
ceased to stick when thoroughly understood. Note the auto­
matic telephone exchange, which has hundreds of thousands of
such contacts, and yet is reliable. A spider web of metal, sealed
in a thin glass container, a wire heated to brilliant glow, in
short, the thermionic tube of radio sets, is made by the hundred
million, tossed about in packages, plugged into sockets—and it
works! Its gossamer parts, the precise location and alignment
involved in its construction, would have occupied a master
craftsman of the guild for months j now it is built for thirty
cents. The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex de­
vices of great reliability} and something is bound to come of it.

A record, if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously
extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.
Today we make the record conventionally by writing and pho­
tography, followed by printing} but we also record on film, on
wax disks, and on magnetic wires. Even if utterly new re­
cording procedures do not appear, these present ones are cer­
tainly in the process of modification and extension.
Certainly progress in photography is not going to stop.
Faster material and lenses, more automatic cameras, finergrained sensitive compounds to allow an extension of the mini­
camera idea, are all imminent. Let us project this trend ahead
to a logical, if not inevitable, outcome. The camera hound of
the future wears on his forehead a lump a little larger than
a walnut. It takes pictures 3 millimeters square, later to be
projected or enlarged, which after all involves only a factor of
10 beyond present practice. The lens is of universal focus,
down to any distance accommodated by the unaided eye, simply
because it is of short focal length. There is a built-in photocell
on the walnut such as we now have on at least one camera,
which automatically adjusts exposure for a wide range of illu­
mination. There is film in the walnut for a hundred expo-



Endless Horizons

sures, and the spring for operating its shutter and shifting its
film is wound once for all when the film clip is inserted. It
produces its result in full color. It may well be stereoscopic,
and record with two spaced glass eyes, for striking improve­
ments in stereoscopic technique are just around the corner.
The cord which trips its shutter may reach down a man’s
sleeve within easy reach of his fingers. A quick squeeze, and
the picture is taken. On a pair of ordinary glasses is a square
of fine lines near the top of one lens, where it is out of the way
of ordinary vision. When an object appears in that square, it
is lined up for its picture. As the scientist of the future moves
about the laboratory or the field, every time he looks at some­
thing worthy of the record, he trips the shutter and in it goes,
without even an audible click. Is this all fantastic? The only
fantastic thing about it is the idea of making as many pictures
as would result from its use.
Will there be dry photography? It is already here in two
forms. When Brady made his Civil War pictures, the plate
had to be wet at the time of exposure. Now it has to be wet
during development instead. In the future perhaps it need not
be wetted at all. There have long been films impregnated with
diazo dyes which form a picture without development, so that
it is already there as soon as the camera has been operated. An
exposure to ammonia gas destroys the unexposed dye, and the
picture can then be taken out into the light and examined.
The process is now slow, but someone may speed it up, and it
has no grain difficulties such as now keep photographic re­
searchers busy. Often it would be advantageous to be able to
snap the camera and to look at the picture immediately.
Another process now in use is also slow, and more or less
clumsy. For fifty years impregnated papers have been used
which turn dark at every point where an electrical contact
touches them, by reason of the chemical change thus produced
in an iodine compound included in the paper. They have been
used to make records, for a pointer moving across them can
leave a trail behind. If the electrical potential on the pointer

As We May Think


is varied as it moves, the line becomes light or dark in accord­
ance with the potential.
This scheme is now used in facsimile transmission. The
pointer draws a set of closely spaced lines across the paper one
after another. As it moves, its potential is varied in accord­
ance with a varying current received over wires from a distant
station, where these variations are produced by a photocell
which is similarly scanning a picture. At every instant the
darkness of the line being drawn is made equal to the darkness
of the point on the picture being observed by the photocell.
Thus, when the whole picture has been covered, a replica ap­
pears at the receiving end.
A scene itself can be just as well looked over line by line
by the photocell in this way as can a photograph of the scene.
This whole apparatus constitutes a camera, with the added
feature, which can be dispensed with if desired, of making its
picture at a distance. It is slow, and the picture is poor in de­
tail. Still, it does give another process of dry photography, in
which the picture is finished as soon as it is taken.
It would be a brave man who would predict that such a
process will always remain clumsy, slow, and faulty in detail.
Television equipment today transmits sixteen reasonably good
pictures a second, and it involves only two essential differences
from the process described above. For one, the record is made
by a moving beam of electrons rather than a moving pointer,
for the reason that an electron beam can sweep across the picture
very rapidly indeed. The other difference involves merely the
use of a screen which glows momentarily when the electrons
bit, rather than a chemically treated paper or film which is
permanently altered. This speed is necessary in television, for
motion pictures rather than stills are the object.
Use chemically treated film in place of the glowing screen,
allow the apparatus to transmit one picture only rather than a
succession, and a rapid camera for dry photography results.
The treated film needs to be far faster in action than present
examples, but it probably could be. More serious is the ob-



Endless Horizons

jection that this scheme would involve putting the film inside a
vacuum chamber, for electron beams behave normally only in
such a rarefied environment. This difficulty could be avoided
by allowing the electron beam to play on one side of a partition,
and by pressing the film against the other side, if this partition
were such as to allow the electrons to go through perpendicular
to its surface, and to prevent them from spreading out side­
ways. Such partitions, in crude form, could certainly be con­
structed, and they will hardly hold up the general develop­
Like dry photography, microphotography still has a long
way to go. The basic scheme of reducing the size of the record,
and examining it by projection rather than directly, has possi­
bilities too great to be ignored. The combination of optical
projection and photographic reduction is already producing
some results in microfilm for scholarly purposes, and the poten­
tialities are highly suggestive. Today, with microfilm, reduc­
tions by a linear factor of 20 can be employed and still produce
full clarity when the material is re-enlarged for examination.
The limits are set by the graininess of the film, the excellence
of the optical system, and the efficiency of the light sources em­
ployed. All of these are rapidly improving.
Assume a linear ratio of 100 for future use. Consider film
of the same thickness as paper, although thinner film will cer­
tainly be usable. Even under these conditions there would be a
total factor of 10,000 between the bulk of the ordinary record
on books, and its microfilm replica. The Encyclopcedia Britannica could be reduced to the volume of a matchbox. A library
of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a
desk. If the human race has produced since the invention of
movable type a total record, in the form of magazines, news­
papers, books, tracts, advertising blurbs, correspondence, having
a volume corresponding to a billion books, the whole affair,
assembled and compressed, could be lugged off in a moving
van. Mere compression, of course, is not enough; one needs
not only to make and store a record but also to be able to con-

As We May Think


suit it, and this aspect of the matter comes later. Even the
modern great library is not generally consulted ; it is nibbled
at by a few.
Compression is important, however, when it comes to costs.
The material for the microfilm Britannica would cost a nickel,
and it could be mailed anywhere for a cent. What would it cost
to print a million copies? To print a sheet of newspaper, in a
large edition, costs a small fraction of a cent. The entire mate­
rial of the Britannica in reduced microfilm form would go on
a sheet eight and one-half by eleven inches. Once it is avail­
able, with the photographic reproduction methods of the fu­
ture, duplicates in large quantities could probably be turned
out for a cent apiece beyond the cost of materials. The prepa­
ration of the original copy? That introduces the next aspect of
the subject.

° rnake the record, we now push a pencil or tap a type­
writer. Then comes the process of digestion and correction,
followed by an intricate process of typesetting, printing, and
distribution. To consider the first stage of the procedure, will
the author of the future cease writing by hand or typewriter
and talk directly to the record? He does so indirectly, by talklng to a stenographer or a wax cylinder; but the elements are
aT present if he wishes to have his talk directly produce a typed
record. All he needs to do is to take advantage of existing
mechanisms and to alter his language.
At a recent World Fair a machine called a Voder was shown.
A girl stroked its keys and it emitted recognizable speech. No
human vocal chords entered into the procedure at any point;
the keys simply combined some electrically produced vibrations
and passed these on to a loud-speaker. In the Bell Labora­
tories there is the converse of this machine, called a Vocoder.
The loudspeaker is replaced by a microphone, which picks up
sound. Speak to it, and the corresponding keys move. This
may be one element of the postulated system.



Endless Horizons

The other element is found in the stenotype, that somewhat
disconcerting device encountered usually at public meetings. A
girl strokes its keys languidly and looks about the room and
sometimes at the speaker with a disquieting gaze. From it
emerges a typed strip which records in a phonetically simplified
language a record of what the speaker is supposed to have said.
Later this strip is retyped into ordinary language, for in its
nascent form it is intelligible only to the initiated. Combine
these two elements, let the Vocoder run the stenotype, and
the result is a machine which types when talked to.
Our present languages are not especially adapted to this
sort of mechanization, it is true. It is strange that the inven­
tors of universal languages have not seized upon the idea of
producing one which better fitted the technique for transmitting
and recording speech. Mechanization may yet force the issue,
especially in the scientific field; whereupon scientific jargon
would become still less intelligible to the layman.
One can now picture a future investigator in his laboratory.
His hands are free, and he is not anchored. As he moves about
and observes, he photographs and comments. Time is auto­
matically recorded to tie the two records together. If he goes
into the field, he may be connected by radio to his recorder.
As he ponders over his notes in the evening, he again talks
his comments into the record. His typed record, as well as
his photographs, may both be in miniature, so that he projects
them for examination.
Much needs to occur, however, between the collection of
data and observations, the extraction of parallel material from
the existing record, and the final insertion of new material into
the general body of the common record. For mature thought
there is no mechanical substitute. But creative thought and
essentially repetitive thought are very different things. For
the latter there are, and may be, powerful mechanical aids.
Adding a column of figures is a repetitive thought process,
and it was long ago properly relegated to the machine. True,
the machine is sometimes controlled by a keyboard, and thought

As We May Think


of a sort enters in reading the figures and poking the corre­
sponding keys, but even this is avoidable. Machines which will
read typed figures by photocells and then depress the corre­
sponding keys may come from combinations of photocells for
scanning the type, electric circuits for sorting the consequent
variations, and relay circuits for interpreting the result into the
action of solenoids to pull the keys down.
this complication is needed because of the clumsy way
m which we have learned to write figures. If we recorded
t em positionally, simply by the configuration of a set of dots
on a card, the automatic reading mechanism would become
comparatively simple. In fact, if the dots are holes, we have
t e punched-card machine long ago produced by Hollerith for
t e purposes of the census, and now used throughout business.
ome types of complex businesses could hardly operate with­
out these machines.
lng is only one operation. To perform arithmetical
computation involves also subtraction, multiplication, and divi°n> and in addition some method for temporary storage of
resu ts, removal from storage for further manipulation, and recor mg of final results by printing. Machines for these pur^ ^eS,ar^.now of two types: keyboard machines for accounting
an t e ike, manually controlled for the insertion of data, and
usua y automatically controlled as far as the sequence of operions is concerned} and punched-card machines in which sepaca e operations are usually delegated to a series of machines,
n the cards then transferred bodily from one to another.
orms are very useful} but as far as complex computations
o concerned, both are still in embryo.
fn ap!d electncal counting appeared soon after the physicists
thUn . fs^ra^ e t0 count cosmic rays. For their own purposes
e p ysicists promptly constructed thermionic-tube equipment
apable of counting electrical impulses at the rate of 100,000 a
econ . The advanced arithmetical machines of the future will
e e ectncal in nature, and they will perform at 100 times pres­
ent speeds, or more.



Endless Horizons

Moreover, they will be far more versatile than present com­
mercial machines, so that they may readily be adapted for a
wide variety of operations. They will be controlled by a con­
trol card or film, they will select their own data and manipulate
them in accordance with instructions thus inserted, they will
perform complex arithmetical computations at exceedingly high
speeds, and they will record results in such form as to be readily
available for distribution or for later further manipulation.
Such machines will have enormous appetites. One of them will
take instructions and data from a whole roomful of girls armed
with simple keyboard punches, and will deliver sheets of com­
puted results every few minutes. There will always be plenty
of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of peo­
ple doing complicated things.

The repetitive processes of thought are not confined, how­
ever, to matters of arithmetic and statistics. In fact, every time
one combines and records facts in accordance with established
logical processes, the creative aspect of thinking is concerned
only with the selection of the data and the process to be em­
ployed, and the manipulation thereafter is repetitive in nature
and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machines. Not so
much has been done along these lines, beyond the bounds of
arithmetic, as might be done, primarily because of the economics
of the situation. The needs of business, and the extensive
market obviously waiting, assured the advent of mass-produced
arithmetical machines just as soon as production methods were
sufficiently advanced.
With machines for advanced analysis no such situation ex­
isted j for there was and is no extensive market; the users of
advanced methods of manipulating data are a very small part of
the population. There are, however, machines for solving dif­
ferential equations—and functional and integral equations, for
that matter. There are many special machines, such as the
harmonic synthesizer which predicts the tides. There will be

As We May Think


many more, appearing certainly first in the hands of the scien­
tist and in small numbers.
If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes
of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of
the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the
game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of prob­
ability. The abacus, with its beads strung on parallel wires,
led the Arabs to positional numeration and the concept of zero
many centuries before the rest of the world; and it was a use­
ful tool—so useful that it still exists.
It is a far cry from the abacus to the modern keyboard ac­
counting machine. It will be an equal step to the arithmetical
machine of the future. But even this new machine will not take
the scientist where he needs to go. Relief must be secured
from laborious detailed manipulation of higher mathematics
as well, if the users of it are to free their brains for somethingmore than repetitive detailed transformations in accordance
with established rules. A mathematician is not a man who can
readily manipulate figures; often he cannot. He is not even a
man who can readily perform the transformations of equations
by use of calculus. He is primarily an individual who is
skilled in the use of symbolic logic on a high plane, and espe­
cially he is a man of intuitive judgment in the choice of the
manipulative processes he employs.
All else he should be able to turn over to his mechanism,
just as confidently as he turns over the propelling of his car
to the intricate mechanism under the hood. Only then will
mathematics be practically effective in bringing the growing
nowledge of atomistics to the useful solution of the advanced
problems of chemistry, metallurgy, and biology. For this rea­
son there will come more machines to handle advanced mathe­
matics for the scientist. Some of them will be sufficiently bi­
zarre to suit the most fastidious connoisseur of the present arti­
facts of civilization.



Endless Horizons

The scientist, however, is not the only person who manipu­
lates data and examines the world about him by the use of
logical processes, although he sometimes preserves this appear­
ance by adopting into the fold anyone who becomes logical,
much in the manner in which a British labor leader is elevated
to knighthood. Whenever logical processes of thought are em­
ployed—that is, whenever thought for a time runs along an
accepted groove—there is an opportunity for the machine. For­
mal logic used to be a keen instrument in the hands of the
teacher in his trying of students’ souls. It is readily possible
to construct a machine which will manipulate premises in ac­
cordance with formal logic, simply by the clever use of relay
circuits. Put a set of premises into such a device and turn the
crank, and it will readily pass out conclusion after conclusion,
all in accordance with logical law, and with no more slips than
would be expected of a keyboard adding machine.
Logic can become enormously difficult, and it would un­
doubtedly be well to produce more assurance in its use. The
machines for higher analysis have usually been equation solv­
ers. Ideas are beginning to appear for equation transformers,
which will rearrange the relationship expressed by an equation
in accordance with strict and rather advanced logic. Progress is
inhibited by the exceedingly crude way in which mathematicians
express their relationships. They employ a symbolism which
grew like Topsy and has little consistency; a strange fact in that
most logical field.
A new symbolism, probably positional, must apparently pre­
cede the reduction of mathematical transformations to machine
processes. Then, on beyond the strict logic of the mathema­
tician, lies the application of logic in everyday affairs. We may
some day click off arguments on a machine with the same assur­
ance that we now enter sales on a cash register. But the ma­
chine of logic will not look like a cash register, even the stream­
lined model.

As We May Think


So much for the manipulation of ideas and their insertion
into the record. Thus far we seem to be worse off than before
" for we can enormously extend the record j yet even in its
present bulk we can hardly consult it. This is a much larger
matter than merely the extraction of data for the purposes of
scientific research; it involves the entire process by which man
profits by his inheritance of acquired knowledge. The prime
action of use is selection, and here we are halting indeed. There
may be millions of fine thoughts, and the account of the experi­
ence on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of
acceptable architectural form; but if the scholar can get at only
one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to
keep up with the current scene.
Selection, in this broad sense, is a stone adze in the hands of
a cabinetmaker. Yet, in a narrow sense and in other areas,
something has already been done mechanically on selection.
The personnel officer of a factory drops a stack of a few thou­
sand employee cards into a selecting machine, sets a code in
accordance with an established convention, and produces in a
short time a list of all employees who live in Trenton and
know Spanish. Even such devices are much too slow when it
comes, for example, to matching a set of fingerprints with one
of five million on file. Selection devices of this sort will soon
be speeded up from their present rate of reviewing data at a
cw hundred a minute. By the use of photocells and micro­
film they will survey items at the rate of a thousand a second,
and will print out duplicates of those selected.
This process, however, is simple selection: it proceeds by
examining in turn every one of a large set of items, and by pick­
ing out those which have certain specified characteristics. There
is another form of selection best illustrated by the automatic
telephone exchange. You dial a number and the machine
selects and connects just one of a million possible stations. It
does not run over them all. It pays attention only to a class
given by a first digit, then only to a subclass of this given by the
second digit, and so onj and thus proceeds rapidly and almost



Endless Horizons

unerringly to the selected station. It requires a few seconds to
make the selection, although the process could be speeded up
if increased speed were economically warranted. If necessary,
it could be made extremely fast by substituting thermionic-tube
switching for mechanical switching, so that the full selection
could be made in one one-hundredth of a second. No one
would wish to spend the money necessary to make this change
in the telephone system, but the general idea is applicable else­
Take the prosaic problem of the great department store.
Every time a charge sale is made, there are a number of things
to be done. The inventory needs to be revised, the salesman
needs to be given credit for the sale, the general accounts need
an entry, and, most important, the customer needs to be
charged. A central records device has been developed in which
much of this work is done conveniently. The salesman places
on a stand the customer’s identification card, his own card, and
the card taken from the article sold—all punched cards. When
he pulls a lever, contacts are made through the holes, machin­
ery at a central point makes the necessary computations and
entries, and the proper receipt is printed for the salesman to
pass to the customer.
But there may be ten thousand charge customers doing busi­
ness with the store, and before the full operation can be com­
pleted someone has to select the right card and insert it at the
central office. Now rapid selection can slide just the proper
card into position in an instant or two, and return it afterward.
Another difficulty occurs, however. Someone must read a total
on the card, so that the machine can add its computed item to it.
Conceivably the cards might be of the dry photography type I
have described. Existing totals could then be read by photo­
cell, and the new total entered by an electron beam.
The cards may be in miniature, so that they occupy little
space. They must move quickly. They need not be transferred
far, but merely into position so that the photocell and recorder
can operate on them. Positional dots can enter the data. At the

As We May Think


end of the month a machine can readily be made to read these
and to print an ordinary bill. With tube selection, in which no
mechanical parts are involved in the switches, little time need
be occupied in bringing the correct card into use—a second
should suffice for the entire operation. The whole record on
the card may be made by magnetic dots on a steel sheet if de­
sired, instead of dots to be observed optically, following the
scheme by which Poulsen long ago put speech on a magnetic
wire. This method has the advantage of simplicity and ease
of erasure. By using photography, however, one can arrange
to project the record in enlarged form, and at a distance by
using the process common in television equipment.
One can consider rapid selection of this form and distant
projection for other purposes. To be able to key one sheet of
a million before an operator in a second or two, with the possidity of then adding notes thereto, is suggestive in many ways.
It might even be of use in libraries, but that is another story.
t any rate, there are now some interesting combinations possi­
ble. One might, for example, speak to a microphone, in the
manner described in connection with the speech-controlled
typewriter, and thus make his selections. It would certainly
beat the usual file clerk.

The real heart of the matter of selection, however, goes
eeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms by libraries,
or a
°f development of devices for their use. Our inepti­
tude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality
° systems of indexing. When data of any sort are placed in
storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and infor­
mation is found (when it is) by tracing it down from subclass
to subclass. It can be in only one place, unless duplicates are
used; one has to have rules as to which path will locate it, and
t e rules are cumbersome. Having found one item, moreover,
one has to emerge from the system and re-enter on a new path.
The human mind does not work that way. It operates by



Endless Horizons

association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the
next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accord­
ance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the
brain. It has other characteristics, of course j trails that are not
frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully per­
manent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the
intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring
beyond all else in nature.
Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process arti­
ficially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it.
In minor ways he may even improve, for his records have rela­
tive permanency. The first idea, however, to be drawn from the
analogy concerns selection. Selection by association, rather than
by indexing, may yet be mechanized. One cannot hope thus to
equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an
associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind de­
cisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items
resurrected from storage.
Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort
of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and,
to coin one at random, “memex” will do. A memex is a device
in which an individual stores all his books, records, and com­
munications, and which is mechanized so that it may be con­
sulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged
intimate supplement to his memory.
It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated
from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which
he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which
material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a
keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks
like an ordinary desk.
In one end is the stored material. The matter of bulk is
well taken care of by improved microfilm. Only a small part
of the interior of the memex is devoted to storage, the rest to
mechanism. Yet if the user inserted 5,000 pages of material

As We May Think


a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository,
so he can be profligate and enter material freely.
Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm
ready for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current peri­
odicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place.
Business correspondence takes the same path. And there is pro­
vision for direct entry. On the top of the memex is a trans­
parent platen. On this are placed longhand notes, photo­
graphs, memoranda, all sorts of things. When one is in place,
the depression of a lever causes it to be photographed onto the
next blank space in a section of the memex film, dry photog­
raphy being employed.
There is, of course, provision for consultation of the record
by the usual scheme of indexing. If the user wishes to consult
a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title
page of the book promptly appears before him, projected onto
one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mne­
monic, so that he seldom consults his code book; but when he
does, a single tap of a key projects it for his use. Moreover,
he has supplemental levers. On deflecting one of these levers
to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in
turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing
glance at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps
through the book 10 pages at a time; still further at 100 pages
at a time. Deflection to the left gives him the same control
A special button transfers him immediately to the first page
of the index. Any given book of his library can thus be called
up and consulted with far greater facility than if it were taken
trom a shelf. As he has several projection positions, he can
leave one item in position while he calls up another. He can
add marginal notes and comments, taking advantage of one
possible type of dry photography, and it could even be arranged
so that he can do this by a stylus scheme, such as is now em­
ployed in the telautograph seen in railroad waiting rooms, just
as though he had the physical page before him.



Endless Horizons

All this is conventional, except for the projection forward of
present-day mechanisms and gadgetry. It affords an immedi­
ate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of
which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to
select immediately and automatically another. This is the es­
sential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items
together is the important thing.
When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the
name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before
him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent
viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number
of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of
these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items
are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code
word. Out of view, but also in the code space, is inserted a set
of dots for photocell viewing; and on each item these dots by
their positions designate the index number of the other item.
Thereafter, at any time, when one of these items is in view,
the other can be instantly recalled merely by tapping a button
below the corresponding code space. Moreover, when numer­
ous items have been thus joined together to form a trail, they
can be reviewed in turn, rapidly or slowly, by deflecting a lever
like that used for turning the pages of a book. It is exactly as
though the physical items had been gathered together from
widely separated sources and bound together to form a new
book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into
numerous trails.
The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the
origin and properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically he is
studying why the short Turkish bow was apparently superior
to the English long bow in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He
has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his
memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds an inter­
esting but sketchy article, leaves it projected. Next, in a his­

■ ■ i


As We May Think


tory, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together.
Thus he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he
inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into the main
trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item. When it
becomes evident that the elastic properties of available mate­
rials had a great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a
side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and
tables of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand
analysis of his own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest
through the maze of materials available to him.
And his trails do not fade. Several years later, his talk with
a friend turns to the queer ways in which a people resist innova­
tions, even of vital interest. He has an example, in the fact
that the outranged Europeans still failed to adopt the Turkish
bow. In fact he has a trail on it. A touch brings up the code
book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A
lever runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items,
going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent
to the discussion. So he sets a reproducer in action, photo­
graphs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for inser­
tion in his own memex, there to be linked into the more gen­
eral trail.

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made
with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready
to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The law­
yer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his
whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authori­
ties. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued
patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client’s inter­
est. The physician, puzzled by a patient’s reactions, strikes the
trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs
rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references
to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The
chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound,



Endless Horizons

has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with
trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to
their physical and chemical behavior.
The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people,
parallels it with a skip trail which stops only on the salient
items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which
lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a
new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the
task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of
the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes,
not only his additions to the world’s record, but for his disciples
the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.
Thus science may implement the ways in which man pro­
duces, stores, and consults the record of the race. It might be
striking to outline the instrumentalities of the future more
spectacularly, rather than to stick closely to methods and ele­
ments now known and undergoing rapid development, as has
been done here. Technical difficulties of all sorts have been
ignored, certainly, but also ignored are means as yet unknown
which may come any day to accelerate technical progress as
violently as did the advent of the thermionic tube. In order
that the picture may not be too commonplace, by reason of
sticking to present-day patterns, it may be well to mention one
such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest, for
prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while
prophecy founded on the unknown is only a doubly involved
All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record
proceed through one of the senses—the tactile when we touch
keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read.
Is it not possible that some day the path may be established
more directly?
We know that when the eye sees, all the consequent informa­
tion is transmitted to the brain by means of electrical vibrations
in the channel of the optic nerve. This is an exact analogy with
the electrical vibrations which occur in the cable of a television

As We May Think


set: they convey the picture from the photocells which see it to
the radio transmitter from which it is broadcast. We know
further that if we can approach that cable with the proper
instruments, we do not need to touch it 5 we can pick up those
vibrations by electrical induction and thus discover and repro­
duce the scene which is being transmitted, just as a telephone
wire may be tapped for its message.
The impulses which flow in the arm nerves of a typist convey
to her fingers the translated information which reaches her eye
or ear, in order that the fingers may be caused to strike the
proper keys. Might not these currents be intercepted, either in
the original form in which information is conveyed to the brain,
or in the marvelously metamorphosed form in which they then
proceed to the hand?
By bone conduction we already introduce sounds into the
nerve channels of the deaf in order that they may hear. Is it
not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the
present cumbersomeness of first transforming electrical vibra­
tions to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism prompt­
ly transforms back to the electrical form? With a couple of
electrodes on the skull the encephalograph now produces penand-ink traces which bear some relation to the electrical phe­
nomena going on in the brain itself. True, the record is un­
intelligible, except as it points out certain gross misfunctioning
of the cerebral mechanism j but who would now place bounds
on where such a thing may lead?
In the outside world, all forms of intelligence, whether of
sound or sight, have been reduced to the form of varying cur­
rents in an electric circuit in order that they may be transmitted.
Inside the human frame exactly the same sort of process occurs.
Must we always transform to mechanical movements in order
to proceed from one electrical phenomenon to another? It is a
suggestive thought, but it hardly warrants prediction without
losing touch with reality and immediateness.
Presumably man’s spirit should be elevated if he can better
review his shady past and analyze more completely and objec­



Endless Horizons

tively his present problems. He has built a civilization so
complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if
he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not
merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his
limited memory. His excursions may be more enjoyable if he
can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things
he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some as­
surance that he can find them again if they prove important.
The applications of science have built man a well-supplied
house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They
have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another
with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encom­
pass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experi­
ence. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that
record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to
the needs and desires of man, this would seem to be a singularly
unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose
hope as to the outcome.

In a letter dated November 17, 1944, President Roosevelt
requested my recommendations on the following points:
( 1) What can be done, consistent with military security, and
with the prior approval of the military authorities, to make
known to the world as soon as possible the contributions which
have been made during our war effort to scientific knowledge?
( 2 ) With particular reference to the war of science against
disease, what can be done now to organize a program for con­
tinuing in the future the work which has been done in medicine
and related sciences?
(3) What can the Government do now and in the future to
aid research activities by public and private organizations?
(b) Can an effective program be proposed for discovering
and developing scientific talent in American youth so that the
continuing future of scientific research in this country may be
assured on a level comparable to what has been done during the
It is clear from President Roosevelt’s letter that in speaking
of science he had in mind the natural sciences, including biology
and medicine, and I have so interpreted his questions. Prog­
ress in other fields, such as the social sciences and the humani­
ties, is likewise important; but the program for science pre­
sented in my report warrants immediate attention.
In seeking answers to President Roosevelt’s questions I have
had the assistance of distinguished committees specially quali­
fied to advise in respect to these subjects. The committees have
given these matters the serious attention they deserve; indeed,
they have regarded this as an opportunity to participate in shap­
ing the policy of the country with reference to scientific re-




Endless Horizons

search. They have had many meetings and have submitted
formal reports. I have been in close touch with the work of
the committees and with their members throughout. I have
examined all of the data they assembled and the suggestions
they submitted on the points raised in President Roosevelt’s
Although the report which I drew up is my own, the facts,
conclusions, and recommendations are based on the findings of
the committees which have studied these questions.
A single mechanism for implementing the recommendations
of the several committees is essential. In proposing such a
mechanism I have departed somewhat from the specific recom­
mendations of the committees, but I have since been assured
that the plan I am proposing is fully acceptable to the commit­
tee members.
The pioneer spirit is still vigorous within this nation. Science
offers a largely unexplored hinterland for the pioneer who has
the tools for his task. The rewards of such exploration for
both the nation and the individual are great. Scientific progress
is one essential key to our security as a nation, to our better
health, to more jobs, to a higher standard of living, and to our
cultural progress.

We all know how much the new drug, penicillin, has meant
to our grievously wounded men on the grim battlefronts—the
countless lives it has saved—the incalculable suffering which
its use has prevented. Science and the great practical genius of
this nation made this achievement possible.
Some of us know the vital role which radar has played in
bringing the United Nations to victory over Nazi Germany
and in driving the Japanese steadily back from their island
bastions. Again it was painstaking scientific research over
many years that made radar possible.
What we often forget are the millions of pay envelopes on a
peacetime Saturday night which are filled because new products

A Program for Tomorrow


and new industries have provided jobs for countless Americans.
Science made that possible, too.
In 1939 millions of people were employed in industries
which did not even exist at the close of the last war—radio, air
conditioning, rayon and other synthetic fibers, and plastics are
examples of the products of these industries. But these things
do not mark the end of progress—they are but the beginning
if we make full use of our scientific resources. New manufac­
turing industries can be started and many older industries
strengthened and expanded if we continue to study nature’s
laws and apply new knowledge to practical purposes.
Great advances in agriculture are also based upon scientific
research. Plants which are more resistant to disease and are
adapted to short growing seasons, the prevention and cure of
livestock diseases, the control of our insect enemies, better fer­
tilizers, and improved agricultural practices, all stem from
painstaking scientific research.
Advances in science when put to practical use mean more
jobs, higher wages, shorter hours, more abundant crops, more
leisure for recreation, for study, for learning how to live with­
out the deadening drudgery which has been the burden of the
common man for ages past. Advances in science will also bring
higher standards of living, will lead to the prevention or cure
of diseases, will promote conservation of our limited national
resources, and will assure means of defense against aggression.
But to achieve these objectives—to secure a high level of em­
ployment, to maintain a position of world leadership—the flow
of new scientific knowledge must be both continuous and sub­
Our population increased from 75 million to 130 million
between 1900 and 1940. In some countries comparable in­
creases have been accompanied by famine. In this country the
increase has been accompanied by more abundant food supply,
better living, more leisure, longer life, and better health. This
is, largely, the product of three factors—the free play of initia­
tive of a vigorous people under democracy, the heritage of



Endless Horizons

great natural wealth, and the advance of science and its appli­
Science, by itself, provides no panacea for individual, social,
and economic ills. It can be effective in the national welfare
only as a member of a team, whether the conditions be peace
or war. But without scientific progress no amount of achieve­
ment in other directions can insure our health, prosperity, and
security as a nation in the modern world.

It has been basic United States policy that Government
should foster the opening of new frontiers. It opened the seas
to clipper ships and furnished land for pioneers. Although
these frontiers have more or less disappeared, the frontier of
science remains. It is in keeping with the American tradition—
one which has made the United States great—that new fron­
tiers shall be made accessible for development by all American
Moreover, since health, well-being, and security are proper
concerns of Government, scientific progress is, and must be, of
vital interest to Government. Without scientific progress the
national health would deteriorate; without scientific progress
we could not hope for improvement in our standard of living
or for an increased number of jobs for our citizens; and without
scientific progress we could not have maintained our liberties
against tyranny.
From early days the Government has taken an active interest
in scientific matters. During the nineteenth century the Coast
and Geodetic Survey, the Naval Observatory, the Department
of Agriculture, and the Geological Survey were established.
Through the Land Grant College Act the Government has
supported research in state institutions for more than 80 years
on a gradually increasing scale. Since 1900 a large number of
scientific agencies have been established within the Federal
Government, until in 1939 they numbered more than 40.

A Program for Tomorrow


Much of the scientific research done by Government agencies
is intermediate in character between the two types of work com­
monly referred to as basic and applied research. Almost all
Government scientific work has ultimate practical objectives
but, in many fields of broad national concern, it commonly in­
volves long-term investigation of a fundamental nature. Gen­
erally speaking, the scientific agencies of Government are not
so concerned with immediate practical objectives as are the
laboratories of industry nor, on the other hand, are they so free
to explore any natural phenomena without regard to possible
economic applications as are the educational and private re­
search institutions. Government scientific agencies have splen­
did records of achievement, but they are limited in function.
We have no national policy for science. The Government
has only begun to utilize science in the nation’s welfare. There
is no body within the Government charged with formulating or
executing a national science policy. There are no standing
committees of the Congress devoted to this important subject.
Science has been in the wings. It should be brought to the cen­
ter of the stage—for in it lies much of our hope for the future.
There are areas of science in which the public interest is acute
but which are likely to be cultivated inadequately if left with­
out more support than will come from private sources. These
areas—such as research on military problems, agriculture, hous­
ing, public health, certain medical research, and research in­
volving expensive capital facilities beyond the capacity of pri­
vate institutions—should be advanced by active Government
support. To date, with the exception of the intensive war re­
search conducted by the Office of Scientific Research and De­
velopment, such support has been meager and intermittent.
The publicly and privately supported colleges, universities,
and research institutes are the centers of basic research. They
are the wellsprings of knowledge and understanding. As long
as they are vigorous and healthy and their scientists are free
to pursue the truth wherever it may lead, there will be a flow



Endless Horizons

of new scientific knowledge to those who can apply it to prac­
tical problems in Government, in industry, or elsewhere.
Many of the lessons learned in the war-time application of
science under Government can be profitably applied in peace.
The Government is peculiarly fitted to perform certain func­
tions, such as the coordination and support of broad programs
on problems of great national importance. But we must pro­
ceed with caution in carrying over the methods which work in
wartime to the very different conditions of peace. We must
remove the rigid controls which we have had to impose, and
recover freedom of inquiry and that healthy competitive scien­
tific spirit so necessary for expansion of the frontiers of scien­
ce knowledge.
Scientific progress on a broad front resuJts from the free play
of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in
the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the
unknown. Freedom of inquiry must be preserved under any
plan for Government support of science.
Note: Although Chapters 3 to 8 constitute a single unit) they
have been separated for the convenience of the reader.

The death rate for all diseases in the Army, including the
overseas forces, was reduced from 14.1 per thousand in the
last war to 0.6 per thousand in World War II.
Such ravaging diseases as yellow fever, dysentery, typhus,
tetanus, pneumonia, and meningitis have been all but conquered
by penicillin and the sulfa drugs, the insecticide DDT, better
vaccines, and improved hygienic measures. Malaria has been
controlled. There has been dramatic progress in surgery.
The striking advances in medicine during the war were pos­
sible only because we had a large backlog of scientific data ac­
cumulated through basic research in many scientific fields in the
years before the war.
In the last 40 years life expectancy in the United States has
increased from 49 to 65 years largely as a consequence of the
reduction in the death rates of infants and children; in the last
20 years the death rate from the diseases of childhood has been
reduced 87 per cent.
#Diabetes has been brought under control by insulin, per­
nicious anemia by liver extracts; and the once widespread de­
ficiency diseases have been much reduced, even in the lowest
income groups, by accessory food factors and improvement of
diet. Notable advances have been made in the early diag­
nosis of cancer, and in the surgical and radiation treatment of
the disease.
These results have been achieved through a great amount of
basic research in medicine and the preclinical sciences, and by
the dissemination of this new scientific knowledge through the
physicians and medical services and public health agencies of
the country. In this cooperative endeavor the pharmaceutical




Endless Horizons

industry has played an important role, especially during the
war. All of the medical and public health groups share credit
for these achievements; they form interdependent members
of a team.
Progress in combating disease depends upon an expanding
body of new scientific knowledge.

As President Roosevelt observed, the annual deaths from
one or two diseases are far in excess of the total number of
American lives lost in battle during this war. A large fraction
of these deaths in our civilian population cut short the useful
lives of our citizens. This is our present position despite the
fact that in the last three decades notable progress has been
made in civilian medicine. The reduction in death rate from
diseases of childhood has shifted the emphasis to the middle
and old age groups, particularly to the malignant diseases and
the degenerative processes prominent in later life. Cardio­
vascular disease, including chronic disease of the kidneys, ar­
teriosclerosis, and cerebral hemorrhage, now account for 45 per
cent of the deaths in the United States. Second are the in­
fectious diseases, and third is cancer. Added to these are many
maladies (for example, the common cold, arthritis, asthma and
hay fever, peptic ulcer) which, though infrequently fatal, cause
incalculable disability.
Another aspect of the changing emphasis is the increase of
mental diseases. Approximately 7 million persons in the
United States are mentally ill; more than one-third of the hos­
pital beds are occupied by such persons, at a cost of $175 mil­
lion a year. Each year 125,000 new mental cases are hos­
Notwithstanding great progress in prolonging the span of
life and in relief of suffering, much illness remains for which
adequate means of prevention and cure are not yet known.
While additional physicians, hospitals, and health programs
are needed, their full usefulness cannot be attained unless we

The War Against Disease


enlarge our knowledge of the human organism and the nature
of disease. Any extension of medical facilities must be accom­
panied by an expanded program of medical training and re­
Discoveries pertinent to medical progress have often come
from remote and unexpected sources, and it is certain that this
will be true in the future. It is wholly probable that progress
in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, renal disease, cancer,
and similar refractory diseases will be made as the result of
fundamental discoveries in subjects unrelated to those diseases,
and perhaps entirely unexpected by the investigator. Further
progress requires that the entire front of medicine and the
underlying sciences of chemistry, physics, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, bacteriology, pathology, para­
sitology, etc., be broadly developed.
Progress in the war against disease results from discoveries
in remote and unexpected fields of medicine and the underlying
Penicillin reached our troops in time to save countless lives
because the Government coordinated and supported the pro­
gram of research and development on the drug. The development moved from the early laboratory stage to large-scale pro­
duction and use in a fraction of the time it would have taken
without such leadership. The search for better anti-malarials,
which proceeded at a moderate tempo for many years, has been
accelerated enormously by Government support during the
^ar. Other examples can be cited in which medical progress has
een similarly advanced. In achieving these results, the Gov­
ernment has provided over-all coordination and support; it has
not dictated how the work should be done within any cooperatlng institution.
Discovery of new therapeutic agents and methods usually
results from basic studies in medicine and the underlying sci­
ences. The development of such materials and methods to the
Point at which they become available to medical practitioners
requires teamwork involving the medical schools, the science



Endless Horizons

departments of universities, Government, and the pharmaceuti­
cal industry. Government initiative, support, and coordination
can be very effective in this development phase.
Government initiative and support for the development of
newly discovered therapeutic materials and methods can reduce
the time required to bring the benefits to the public.

The primary place for medical research is in the medical
schools and universities. In some cases coordinated direct at­
tack on special problems may be made by teams of investigators,
supplementing similar attacks carried on by the Army, Navy,
Public Health Service, and other organizations. Apart from
teaching, however, the primary obligation of the medical
schools and universities is to continue the traditional function
of such institutions, namely, to provide the individual worker
with an opportunity for free, untrammeled study of nature, in
the directions and by the methods suggested by his interests
curiosity, and imagination. The history of medical science'
teaches clearly the supreme importance of affording the pre­
pared mind complete freedom for the exercise of initiative.
It is the special province of the medical schools and universi­
ties to foster medical research in this way—a duty which cannot
be shifted to Government agencies, industrial organizations, or
any other institutions.
Where clinical investigations of the human body are re­
quired, the medical schools are in a unique position, because of
their close relationship to teaching hospitals, to integrate such
investigations with the work of the departments of preclinical
science, and to impart new knowledge to physicians in training.
At the same time, the teaching hospitals are especially well
qualified to carry on medical research because of their close con­
nection with the medical schools, on which they depend for
staff and supervision.
Between World War I and World War II the United States
overtook all other nations in medical research and assumed a


The War Against Disease


position of world leadership. To a considerable extent this
progress reflected the liberal financial support from university
endowment income, gifts from individuals, and foundation
grants in the 20’s. The growth of research departments in
medical schools has been very uneven, however, and in conse­
quence most of the important work has been done in a few
large schools. This should be corrected by building up the
weaker institutions, especially in regions which now have no
strong medical research activities.
The traditional sources of support for medical research,
largely endowment income, foundation grants, and private do­
nations, are diminishing, and there is no immediate prospect of
a change in this trend. Meanwhile, research costs have steadily
risen. More elaborate and expensive equipment is required,
supplies are more costly, and the wages of assistants are higher.
Industry is only to a limited extent a source of funds for basic
medical research.
It is clear that if we are to maintain the progress in medicine
which has marked the last 25 years, the Government should
extend financial support to basic medical research in the medi­
cal schools and in the universities, through grants both for re­
search and for fellowships. The amount which can be effec­
tively spent in the first year should not exceed 5 million dol­
lars. After a program is under way perhaps 20 million dollars
a year can be spent effectively.

In the late war it became clear beyond all doubt that scien­
tific research is absolutely essential to national security. The
bitter and dangerous battle against the U-boat was a battle
of scientific techniques—and our margin of success was dan­
gerously small. The new eyes which radar supplied to our
fighting forces quickly evoked the development of scientific
countermeasures which could often blind them. This again
represents the ever continuing battle of techniques. The V-l
attack on London was finally defeated by three devices devel­
oped during the war and used superbly in the field. V-2 was
countered only by capture of the launching sites.
The Secretaries of War and Navy recently stated in a joint
letter to the National Academy of Sciences:
“This war emphasizes three facts of supreme importance to
national security: ( 1) powerful new tactics of defense and of­
fense are developed around new weapons created by scientific
and engineering research j ( 2 ) the competitive time element in
developing those weapons and tactics may be decisive, ( 3 ) war
is increasingly total war, in which the armed services must be
supplemented by active participation of every element of civil­
ian population.
“To insure continued preparedness along farsighted techni­
cal lines, the research scientists of the country must be called
upon to continue in peacetime some substantial portion of those
types of contribution to national security which they have made
so effectively during the stress of the present war. . . .”
There must be more—and more adequate—military research
during peacetime. We cannot again rely on our allies to hold
off the enemy while we struggle to catch up. Further, it is


The Public Welfare


clear that only the Government can undertake military re­
search ; for it must be carried on in secret, much of it has no
commercial value, and it is expensive. The obligation of Gov­
ernment to support research on military problems is inescapable.
Modern war requires the use of the most advanced scientific
techniques. Many of the leaders in the development of radar
are scientists who before the war had been exploring the nucleus
°f the atom. While there must be increased emphasis on sci­
ence in the future training of officers for both the Army and
Navy, such men cannot be expected to be specialists in scien­
tific research. Therefore a professional partnership between
the officers in the Services and civilian scientists is needed.
The Army and Navy should continue to carry on research
and development in the improvement of current weapons.
For many years the National Advisory Committee for Aero­
nautics has supplemented the work of the Army and Navy by
conducting basic research on the problems of flight. There
should now be permanent civilian activity to supplement the
lesearch work of the Services in other scientific fields so as to
carry on in time of peace some part of the activities of the emer­
gency war-time Office of Scientific Research and Development.
Military preparedness requires a permanent independent,
civilian-controlled organization, having close liaison with the
Army and Navy, but with funds directly from Congress and
with the clear power to initiate military research which will
supplement and strengthen that carried on directly under the
control of the Army and Navy.
One of our hopes is that there will be full employment, and
that the production of goods and services will serve to raise our
standard of living. We do not know yet how we shall reach
that goal, but it is certain that it can be achieved only by re­
leasing the full creative and productive energies of the Ameri­
can people.
Surely we shall not get there by standing still, merely by
taking the same things we made before and selling them at



Endless Horizons

the same or higher prices. We shall not get ahead in inter­
national trade unless we offer new and more attractive and
cheaper products.
Where will these new products come from? How shall we
find ways to make better products at lower cost? The answer
is clear. There must be a stream of new scientific knowledge
to turn the wheels of private and public enterprise. There
must be plenty of men and women trained in science and tech­
nology, for upon them depend both the creation of new knowl­
edge and its application to practical purposes.
More and better scientific research is essential to the achieve­
ment of our goal of full employment.

Basic research is performed without thought of practical
ends. It results in general knowledge and an understanding of
nature and its laws. This general knowledge provides the
means of answering a large number of important practical prob­
lems, though it may not give a complete specific answer to any
one of them. The function of applied research is to provide
such complete answers. The scientist doing basic research may
not be at all interested in the practical applications of his work,
yet the further progress of industrial development would even­
tually stagnate if basic scientific research were long neglected.
One of the peculiarities of basic science is the variety of paths
which lead to productive advance. Many of the most impor­
tant discoveries have come as a result of experiments under­
taken with very different purposes in mind. Statistically it is
certain that important and highly useful discoveries will result
from some fraction of the undertakings in basic science; but the
results of any one particular investigation cannot be predicted
with accuracy.
Basic research leads to new knowledge. It provides scientific
capital. It creates the fund from which the practical applica­
tions of knowledge must be drawn. New products and new
processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new

The Public Welfare


principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly
developed by research in the purest realms of science.
Today, it is truer than ever that basic research is the pace­
maker of technological progress. In the nineteenth century,
Yankee mechanical ingenuity, building largely upon the basic
discoveries of European scientists, could greatly advance the
technical arts. Now the situation is different.
A nation which depends upon others for its new basic scien­
tific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak
m its competitive position in world trade, regardless of its
mechanical skill.
Publicly and privately supported colleges and universities
and the endowed research institutes must furnish both the new
scientific knowledge and the trained research workers. These
institutions are uniquely qualified by tradition and by their
special characteristics to carry on basic research. They are
charged with the responsibility of conserving the knowledge
accumulated by the past, imparting that knowledge to students,
and contributing new knowledge of all kinds. It is chiefly in
these institutions that scientists may work in an atmosphere
which is relatively free from the adverse pressure of conven­
tion, prejudice, or commercial necessity. At their best they
provide the scientific worker with a strong sense of solidarity
and security, as well as a substantial degree of personal intel­
lectual freedom. All of these factors are of great importance
in the development of new knowledge, since much of new
knowledge is certain to arouse opposition because of its ten­
dency to challenge current beliefs or practice.
Industry is generally inhibited by preconceived goals, by its
°wn clearly defined standards, and by the constant pressure
°f commercial necessity. Satisfactory progress in basic science
seldom occurs under conditions prevailing in the normal in­
dustrial laboratory. There are some notable exceptions, it is
true, but even in such cases it is rarely possible to match the
Universities in respect to the freedom which is so important to
scientific discovery.



End less Horizons

To serve effectively as the centers of basic research these in­
stitutions must be strong and healthy They must attract our
best scientists as teachers and investigators. They must offer
research opportunities and sufficient compensation to enable
them to compete with industry and government for the cream
of scientific talent.
During the past 25 years there has been a great increase in
industrial research involving the application of scientific knowl­
edge to a multitude of practical purposes—thus providing new
products, new industries, new investment opportunities, and
millions of jobs. During the same period research within Gov­
ernment—again largely applied research—has also been greatly
expanded. In the decade from 1930 to 1940 expenditures for
industrial research increased from $1 16,000,000 to $240,000,000 and those for scientific research in Government rose from
$24,000,000 to $69,000,000. During the same period expen­
ditures for scientific research in the colleges and universities
increased from $2,000,000 to $31,000,000, while those in the
endowed research institutes declined from $5,200,000 to
$4,500,000. These are the best estimates available. The fig­
ures have been taken from a variety of sources and arbitrary
definitions have necessarily been applied, but it is believed that
they may be accepted as indicating the following trends:
(a) Expenditures for scientific research by industry and Gov­
ernment—almost entirely applied research—have more than
doubled between 1930 and 1940. Whereas in 1930 they were
six times as large as the research expenditures of the colleges,
universities, and research institutes, by 1940 they were nearly
ten times as large.
(b) While expenditures for scientific research in the colleges
and universities increased by one-half during this period, those
for the endowed research institutes have slowly declined.
If the colleges, universities, and research institutes are to
meet the rapidly increasing demands of industry and Govern­
ment for new scientific knowledge, their basic research should
be strengthened by use of public funds.

The Public Welfare



Although there are some notable exceptions, most research
conducted within Governmental laboratories is of an applied
nature. This has always been true and is likely to remain so.
Hence Government, like industry, is dependent upon the col­
leges, universities, and research institutes to expand the basic
scientific frontiers and to furnish trained scientific investigators.
Research within the Government represents an important
part of our total research activity and needs to be strengthened
and expanded. Such expansion should be directed to fields of
inquiry and service which are of public importance and are not
adequately carried on by private organizations.
The most important single factor in scientific and technical
work is the quality of personnel employed. The procedures
currently followed within the Government for recruiting, classdying and compensating such personnel place the Govern­
ment under a severe handicap in competing with industry and
the universities for first-class scientific talent. Steps should
be taken to reduce that handicap.
In the Government the arrangement whereby the numerous
scientific agencies form parts of larger departments has both
advantages and disadvantages. But the present pattern is
firmly established and there is much to be said for it. There is,
however, a very real need for some measure of coordination of
the common scientific activities of these agencies, as to both
policies and budgets, and at present no such means exists.
A permanent Science Advisory Board should be created to
consult with these scientific bureaus and to advise the executive
and legislative branches of Government as to the policies and
budgets of Government agencies engaged in scientific research.
This board should be composed of disinterested scientists who
have no connection with the affairs of any Government agency.

The simplest and most effective way in which the Govern­



Endless Horizons

ment can strengthen industrial research is to support basic re­
search and to develop scientific talent.
The benefits of basic research do not reach all industries
equally or at the same speed. Some small enterprises never re­
ceive any of the benefits. It has been suggested that the benefits
might be better utilized if “research clinics” for such enterprises
were to be established. Businessmen would thus be able to
make more use of research than they now do. This proposal is
certainly worthy of further study.
One of the most important factors affecting the amount of
industrial research is the income-tax law. Government action
in respect to this subject will affect the rate of technical progress
in industry. Uncertainties as to the attitude of the Bureau of
Internal Revenue regarding the deduction of research and de­
velopment expenses are a deterrent to research expenditure.
These uncertainties arise from lack of clarity of the tax law as
to the proper treatment of such costs. The Internal Revenue
Code should be amended to remove present uncertainties in
regard to the deductibility of research and development expen­
ditures as current charges against net income.
Research is also affected by the patent laws. They stimulate
new invention and they make it possible for new industries to
be built around new devices or new processes. These industries
generate new jobs and new products, all of which contribute to
the welfare and the strength of the country.
Yet, uncertainties in the operation of the patent laws have
impaired the ability of small industries to translate new ideas
into processes and products of value to the nation. These un­
certainties are, in part, attributable to the difficulties and ex­
pense incident to the operation of the patent system as it pres­
ently exists. These uncertainties are also attributable to the
existence of certain abuses which have appeared in the use of
patents. The abuses should be corrected. They have led to
extravagantly critical attacks which tend to discredit a basically
sound system.
It is important that the patent system continue to serve the

The Public Welfare

country in the manner intended by the Constitution, for it has
been a vital element in the industrial vigor which has distin­
guished this nation.
The National Patent Planning Commission has reported on
this subject. In addition, a detailed study, with recommenda­
tions concerning the extent to which modifications should be
made in our patent laws, is currently being made under the
leadership of the Secretary of Commerce. It is recommended,
therefore, that specific action with regard to the patent laws be
withheld pending the submission of the report devoted exclu­
sively to that subject.

International exchange of scientific information is of growing
uuportance. Increasing specialization of science will make it
more important than ever that scientists in this country keep
continually abreast of developments abroad. In addition a flow
°f scientific information constitutes one facet of general inter­
national accord which should be cultivated.
The Government can accomplish significant results in several
Ways: by aiding in the arrangement of international science
congresses, in the official accrediting of American scientists to
such gatherings, in the official reception in this country of foreign scientists of standing, in making possible a rapid flow of
technical information, including translation service, and pos­
sibly in the provison of international fellowships. Private
foundations and other groups partially fulfill some of these
functions at present, but their scope is incomplete and inade­
The Government should take an active role in promoting the
mternational flow of scientific information.

We can no longer count on ravaged Europe as a source of
fundamental knowledge. In the past we have devoted much
°f our best efforts to the application of such knowledge which



Endless Horizons

has been discovered abroad. In the future we must pay in­
creased attention to discovering this knowledge for ourselves,
particularly since the scientific applications of the future will
be more than ever dependent upon such basic knowledge.
New impetus must be given to research in our country. Such
new impetus can come promptly only from the Government.
Expenditures for research in the colleges, universities, and re­
search institutes will otherwise not be able to meet the addi­
tional demands of increased public need for research.
Further, we cannot expect industry adequately to fill the
gap. Industry will fully rise to the challenge of applying new
knowledge to new products. The commercial incentive can be
relied upon for that. But basic research is essentially non­
commercial in nature. It will not receive the attention it re­
quires if left to industry.
For many years the Government has wisely supported re­
search in the agricultural colleges and the benefits have been
great. The time has come when such support should be ex­
tended to other fields.
In providing Government support, however, we must en­
deavor to preserve as far as possible the private support of re­
search both in industry and in the colleges, universities, and
research institutes. These private sources should continue to
carry their share of the financial burden.
It is estimated that an adequate program for Federal sup­
port of basic research in the colleges, universities, and research
institutes and for financing important applied research in the
public interest, will cost about 10 million dollars at the outset
and may rise to about 50 million dollars annually when fully
under way at the end of perhaps 5 years.

The responsibility for the creation of new scientific knowl­
edge rests on that small body of men and women who under­
stand the fundamental laws of nature and are skilled in the
techniques of scientific research. While there will always be
the rare individual who will rise to the top without benefit of
formal education and training, he is the exception and even he
might make a more notable contribution if he had the benefit
of the best education we have to offer. I cannot improve on
President Conant’s statement that:
. . in every section of the entire area where the word sci­
ence may properly be applied, the limiting factor is a human
one. We shall have rapid or slow advance in this direction or
in that depending on the number of really first-class men who
are engaged in the work in question. . . . So in the last analysis,
the future of science in this country will be determined by our
basic educational policy.”
It would be folly to set up a program under which research
in the natural sciences and medicine was expanded at the cost
of the social sciences, humanities, and other studies so essential
to national well-being. This point has been well stated by the
Moe Committee as follows:
As citizens, as good citizens, we therefore think that we
must have in mind while examining the question before us—
the discovery and development of scientific talent—the needs
of the whole national welfare. We could not suggest to you
a program which would syphon into science and technology a
disproportionately large share of the nation’s highest abilities,
without doing harm to the nation, nor, indeed, without crip-




Endless Horizons

one can select from the bottom those who will be the leaders at
the top because unmeasured and unknown factors enter into
scientific, or any, leadership. There are brains and character,
strength and health, happiness and spiritual vitality, interest
and motivation, and no one knows what else, that must needs
enter into this supra-mathematical calculus.
“We think we probably would not, even if we were all-wise
and all-knowing, write you a plan whereby you would be as­
sured of scientific leadership at one stroke. We think as we
think because we are not interested in setting up an elect. We
think it much the best plan, in this constitutional Republic, that
opportunity be held out to all kinds and conditions of men
whereby they can better themselves. This is the American
way; this is the way the United States has become what it is.
We think it very important that circumstances be such that
there be no ceilings, other than ability itself, to intellectual am­
bition. We think it very important that every boy and girl shall
know that, if he shows that he has what it takes, the sky is the
limit. Even if it be shown subsequently that he has not what
it takes to go to the top, he will go further than he would other­
wise go if there had been a ceiling beyond which he always
knew he could not aspire.
“By proceeding from point to point and taking stock on the
way, by giving further opportunity to those who show them­
selves worthy of further opportunity, by giving the most op­
portunity to those who show themselves continually developing
—this is the way we propose. This is the American way: a
man works for what he gets.”
Higher education in this country is largely for those who
have the means. If those who have the means coincided entirely
with those persons who have the talent we should not be squan­
dering a part of our higher education on those undeserving of
it, nor neglecting great talent among those who fail to attend
college for economic reasons. There are talented individuals
in every segment of the population, but with few exceptions
those without the means of buying higher education go without

Renewal of Scientific Talent


it. Here is a tremendous waste of the greatest resource of a
nation—the intelligence of its citizens.
If ability, and not the circumstance of family fortune, is
made to determine who shall receive higher education in sci­
ence, then we shall be assured of constantly improving quality
at every level of scientific activity.
We have a serious deficit in scientific personnel partly be­
cause the men who would have studied science in the colleges
and universities have been serving in the Armed Forces. Many
had begun their studies before they went to war. Others with
capacity for scientific education went to war after finishing high
school. The most immediate prospect of making up some of
the deficit in scientific personnel is by salvaging scientific talent
from the generation in uniform. For even if we should start
now to train the current crop of high school graduates, it would
be 1951 before they would complete graduate studies and be
prepared for effective scientific research. This fact underlines
the necessity of salvaging potential scientists in uniform.
The Armed Services should comb their records for men who,
prior to or during the war, have given evidence of talent for
science, and make prompt arrangements, consistent with current
discharge plans, for ordering those who remain in uniform as
soon as militarily possible to duty at institutions here and over­
seas where they can continue their scientific education. More­
over, they should see that those who study overseas have the
benefit of the latest scientific developments.
The country may be proud of the fact that 95 per cent of boys
and girls of fifth grade age are enrolled in school, but the drop
in enrollment after the fifth grade is less satisfying. For every
1,000 students in the fifth grade, 600 are lost to education be­
fore the end of high school, and all but 72 have ceased formal
education before completion of college. While we are con­
cerned primarily with methods of selecting and educating high
school graduates at the college and higher levels, we cannot be
complacent about the loss of potential talent which is inherent
in the present situation.



Endless Horizons

Students drop out of school, college, and graduate school, or
do not get that far, for a variety of reasons: they cannot afford
to go on; schools and colleges providing courses equal to their
capacity are not available locally; business and industry recruit
many of the most promising before they have finished the train­
ing of which they are capable. These reasons apply with par­
ticular force to science: the road is long and expensive; it ex­
tends at least 6 years beyond high school; the percentage of
science students who can obtain first-rate training in institutions
near home is small.
Improvement in the teaching of science is imperative, for
students of latent scientific ability are particularly vulnerable
to high school teaching which fails to awaken interest or to
provide adequate instruction. To enlarge the group of spe­
cially qualified men and women it is necessary to increase the
number who go to college. This involves improved high
school instruction, provision for helping individual talented
students to finish high school (primarily the responsibility of
the local communities), and opportunities for more capable,
promising high school students to go to college. Anything
short of this means serious waste of higher education and neg­
lect of human resources.
To encourage and enable a larger number of young men and
women of ability to take up science as a career, and in order
gradually to reduce the deficit of trained scientific personnel,
it is recommended that provision be made for a reasonable num­
ber of (a) undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellow­
ships and (b) fellowships for advanced training and funda­
mental research. The details should be worked out with ref­
erence to the interests of the several States and of the univer­
sities and colleges, and care should be taken not to impair the
freedom of the institutions and individuals concerned.
The program proposed by the Moe Committee would pro­
vide 24,000 undergraduate scholarships and 900 graduate fel­
lowships and would cost about $30,000,000 annually when in
full operation. Each year under this program 6,000 under­

Renewal of Scientific Talent


graduate scholarships would be made available to high school
graduates, and 300 graduate fellowships would be offered to
college graduates. Approximately the scale of allowances pro­
vided for under the educational program for returning veterans
has been used in estimating the cost of this program.
The plan is, further, that all those who receive such scholar­
ships or fellowships in science should be enrolled in a National
Science Reserve and be liable to call into the service of the
Government, in connection with scientific or technical work in
time of war or other national emergency declared by Congress
or proclaimed by the President. Thus, in addition to the gen­
eral benefits to the nation by reason of the addition to its trained
ranks of such a corps of scientific workers, there would be a
definite benefit to the nation in having these scientific workers
on call in national emergencies. The Government would be
well advised to invest the money involved in this plan even if
the benefits to the nation were thought of solely—as they
are not—in terms of national preparedness.


We have been living on our fat. For more than five years
many of our scientists fought the war in the laboratories, in
the factories and shops, and at the front. We directed the
energies of our scientists to the development of weapons and
materials and methods, on a large number of relatively narrow
projects initiated and controlled by the Office of Scientific Re­
search and Development and other Government agencies. Like
troops, the scientists were mobilized and thrown into action to
serve their country in time of emergency. But they were di­
verted to a greater extent than is generally appreciated from
the search for answers to the fundamental problems—from the
search on which human welfare and progress depend. This is
not a complaint—it is a fact. The mobilization of science be­
hind the lines aided the fighting men at the front to win the
war and to shorten it; and it resulted incidentally in the accu­
mulation of a vast amount of experience and knowledge of the
application of science to particular problems, much of which
can be put to use now that the war is over. Fortunately, this
country had the scientists—and the time—to make this contri­
bution and thus to advance the date of victory.
Much of the information and experience acquired during the
war is confined to the agencies that gathered it. Except to the
extent that military security dictates otherwise, such knowledge
should be spread upon the record for the benefit of the public.
Thanks to the wise provision of the Secretary of War and the
Secretary of the Navy, most of the results of wartime medical
research have been published. The material still subject to
security classification should be released as soon as possible.

Reconversion Opportunities


It is my view that most of the remainder of the classified
scientific material should be released as soon as is practicable.
Most of the information needed by industry and in education
can be released without disclosing its embodiments in actual
military material and devices. Basically there is no reason to
believe that scientists of other countries will not in time redis­
cover everything we now know which is held in secrecy. A
broad dissemination of scientific information upon which fur­
ther advances can readily be made furnishes a sounder founda­
tion for our national security than a policy of restriction which
would impede our own progress although imposed in the hope
that possible enemies would not catch up with us.
During the war it was necessary for selected groups of sci­
entists to work on specialized problems, with relatively little
information as to what other groups were doing and had done.
Working against time, the Office of Scientific Research and
Development was obliged to enforce this practice during the
war, although it was realized by all concerned that it was an
emergency measure which prevented the continuous cross­
fertilization so essential to fruitful scientific effort.
Our ability to overcome possible future enemies depends
upon scientific advances, which will proceed more rapidly with
diffusion of knowledge than under a policy of continued restric­
tion of knowledge now in our possession.

In planning the release of scientific data and experience col­
lected in connection with the war, we must not overlook the
fact that research has gone forward under many auspices—the
Army, the Navy, the Office of Scientific Research and Devel­
opment, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,
other departments and agencies of the Government, educational
institutions, and many industrial organizations. There have
been numerous cases of independent discovery of the same
truth in different places. To permit the release of information
by one agency and to continue to restrict it elsewhere would be



Endless Horizons

unfair in its effect and would tend to impair the morale and
efficiency of scientists who submerged individual interests in
the controls and restrictions of war.
A part of the information now classified which should be
released is possessed jointly by our allies and ourselves. Plans
for release of such information should be coordinated with our
allies to minimize danger of international friction which would
result from sporadic uncontrolled release.
The agency responsible for recommending the release of in­
formation from military classification should be an Army,
Navy, civilian body, well grounded in science and technology.
It should be competent to advise the Secretary of War and
the Secretary of the Navy. It should, moreover, have suffi­
cient recognition to secure prompt and practical decisions. To
satisfy these considerations I recommend the establishment of
a Board, made up equally of scientists and military men, whose
function would be to pass upon the declassification and to con­
trol the release for publication of scientific information which
is now classified.
The release of information from security regulations is but
one phase of the problem. The other is to provide for prepara­
tion of the material and its publication in a form and at a price
which will facilitate dissemination and use. In the case of the
Office of Scientific Research and Development, arrangements
have been made for the preparation of manuscripts while the
staffs are still assembled and in possession of the records.
We should get this scientific material to scientists everywhere
with great promptness, and at as low a price as is consistent with
suitable format. We should also get it to the men studying
overseas so that they will know what has happened in their
It is recommended that measures which will encourage and
facilitate the preparation and publication of reports be adopted
forthwith by all agencies, governmental and private, possessing
scientific information released from security control.

The Federal Government should accept new responsibilities
for promoting the creation of new scientific knowledge and the
development of scientific talent in our youth. In discharging
these responsibilities, Federal funds should be made available.
We have given much thought to the question of how plans for
the use of Federal funds may be arranged so that such funds
will not drive out of the picture funds from local governments,
foundations, and private donors. We believe that our proposals
will minimize that effect, but we do not think that it can be
completely avoided. We submit, however, that the nation’s
need for more and better scientific research is such that the
risk must be accepted.
It is also clear that the effective discharge of these responsi­
bilities will require the full attention of some over-all agency
devoted to that purpose. There should be a focal point within
the Government for a concerted program of assisting scientific
research conducted outside of Government. Such an agency
should furnish the funds needed to support basic research in
the colleges and universities, should coordinate where possible
research programs on matters of utmost importance to the na­
tional welfare, should formulate a national policy for the Gov­
ernment toward science, should sponsor the interchange of sci­
entific information among scientists and laboratories both in this
country and abroad, and should ensure that the incentives to
research in industry and the universities are maintained.
There are within Government departments many groups
whose interests are primarily those of scientific research. Nota­
ble examples are found within the Departments of Agricul­
ture, Commerce, Interior, and the Federal Security Agency.




Endless Horizons

These groups are concerned with science as collateral and pe­
ripheral to the major problems of those departments. These
groups should remain where they are, and continue to perform
their present functions, including the support of agricultural
research by grants to the Land Grant Colleges and Experiment
Stations, since their largest contribution lies in applying funda­
mental knowledge to the special problems of the departments
within which they are established.
By the same token these groups cannot be made the repository
of the new and large responsibilities in science which belong to
the Government and which the Government should accept.
The recommendations which relate to research within the Gov­
ernment, to the release of scientific information, to clarification
of the tax laws, and to the recovery and development of our
scientific talent now in uniform can be implemented by action
within the existing structure of the Government. But nowhere
in the Governmental structure receiving its funds from Con­
gress is there an agency adapted to supplementing the support
of basic research in the universities, in both medicine and the
natural sciences} adapted to supporting research on new weap­
ons for both Services} or adapted to administering a program
of science scholarships and fellowships.
A new agency should be established, therefore, by the Con­
gress for the purpose. Such an agency, moreover, should be
an independent agency devoted to the support of scientific re­
search and advanced scientific education alone. Industry
learned many years ago that basic research cannot often be
fruitfully conducted as an adjunct to or a subdivision of an
operating agency or department. Operating agencies have
immediate operating goals and are under constant pressure to
produce in a tangible way, for that is the test of their value.
None of these conditions is favorable to basic research. Re­
search is the exploration of the unknown and is necessarily spec­
ulative. It is inhibited by conventional approaches, traditions,
and standards. It cannot be satisfactorily conducted in an
atmosphere where it is gauged and tested by operating or pro­

The Means to the End


duction standards. Basic scientific research should not, there­
fore, be placed under an operating agency whose paramount
concern is anything other than research. Research will always
suffer when put in competition with operations.
I am convinced that these new functions should be centered
in one agency. Science is fundamentally a unitary thing. The
number of independent agencies should be kept to a minimum.
Much medical progress, for example, will come from funda­
mental advances in chemistry. Separation of the sciences in
tight compartments, as would occur if more than one agency
were involved, would retard and not advance scientific knowl­
edge as a whole.

There are certain basic principles which must underlie the
program of Government support for scientific research and edu­
cation if such support is to be effective and if it is to avoid im­
pairing the very things we seek to foster. These principles
are as follows:
(1) Whatever the extent of support may be, there must be
stability of funds over a period of years so that long-range pro­
grams may be undertaken.
(2) The agency to administer such funds should be com­
posed of citizens selected only on the basis of their interest in
and capacity to promote the work of the agency. They should
be persons of broad interest in and understanding of the peculi­
arities of scientific research and education.
(3) The agency should promote research through contracts
or grants to organizations outside the Federal Government. It
should not operate any laboratories of its own.
(4) Support of basic research in the public and private col­
leges, universities, and research institutes must leave the in­
ternal control of policy, personnel, and the method and scope
of the research to the institutions themselves. This is of the
utmost importance.
(5) While assuring complete independence and freedom for



Endless Horizons

the nature, scope, and methodology of research carried on in the
institutions receiving public funds, and while retaining discre­
tion in the allocation of funds among such institutions, the
Foundation proposed herein must be responsible to the Presi­
dent and the Congress. Only through such responsibility can
we maintain the proper relationship between science and other
aspects of a democratic system. The usual controls of audits,
reports, budgeting, and the like should, of course, apply to the
administrative and fiscal operations of the Foundation, subject,
however, to such adjustments in procedure as are necessary to
meet the special requirements of research.
Basic research is a long-term process—it ceases to be basic if
immediate results are expected on short-term support. Meth­
ods should therefore be found which will permit the agency to
make commitments of funds from current appropriations for
programs of five years’ duration or longer. Continuity and
stability of the program and its support may be expected (a)
from the growing realization by the Congress of the benefits to
the public from scientific research, and (b) from the convic­
tion which will grow among those who conduct research under
the auspices of the agency that good quality work will be fol­
lowed by continuing support.

As stated earlier, military preparedness requires a perma­
nent, independent, civilian-controlled organization, having
close liaison with the Army and Navy, but with funds direct
from Congress and the clear power to initiate military research
which will supplement and strengthen that carried on directly
under the control of the Army and Navy. As a temporary
measure the National Academy of Sciences established the Re­
search Board for National Security at the request of the Sec­
retary of War and the Secretary of the Navy in order to avert
interruption in the relations between scientists and military men
after the termination of emergency wartime organization.
I believe that, as a permanent measure, it would be appro­

The Means to the End


priate to add to the agency needed to perform the other func­
tions recommended the responsibilities for civilian-initiated and
civilian-controlled military research. The function of such a
civilian group would be primarily to conduct long-range scien­
tific research on military problems—leaving to the Services re­
search on the improvement of existing weapons.
Some research on military problems should be conducted, in
time of peace as well as in war, by civilians independently of
the military establishment. It is the primary responsibility of
the Army and Navy to train the men, make available the
weapons, and employ the strategy that will bring victory in
combat. The Armed Services cannot be expected to be experts
in all of the complicated fields which make it possible for a
great nation to fight successfully in total war. There are cer­
tain kinds of research—such as research on the improvement of
existing weapons—which can best be done within the military
establishment. However, the job of long-range research in­
volving application of the newest scientific discoveries to mili­
tary needs should be the responsibility of those civilian scien­
tists in the universities and in industry who are best trained to
discharge it thoroughly and successfully. It is essential that
both kinds of research go forward and that there be the closest
liaison between the two groups.
Placing the civilian military research function in the pro­
posed agency would bring it into close relationship with a broad
program of basic research in both the natural sciences and medi­
cine. A balance between military and other research could
thus readily be maintained.
The establishment of the new agency, including a civilian
military research group, should not be delayed by the existence
of the Research Board for National Security, which is a tem­
porary measure. Nor should the creation of the new agency
be delayed by uncertainties in regard to the postwar organiza­
tion of our military departments themselves. Clearly, the new
agency, including a civilian military research group within it,


Endless Horizons

can remain sufficiently flexible to adapt its operations to what­
ever may be the final organization of the military departments.

It is my judgment that the national interest in scientific re­
search and scientific education can best be promoted by the cre­
ation of a National Research Foundation.
Purposes: The National Research Foundation should de­
velop and promote a national policy for scientific research and
scientific education, should support basic research in nonprofit
organizations, should develop scientific talent in American
youth by means of scholarships and fellowships, and should, by
contract and otherwise, support long-range research on military
Members: Responsibility to the people, through the Presi­
dent and the Congress, should be placed in the hands of, say,
nine Members, who should be persons not otherwise connected
with the Government and not representative of any special in­
terest, who should be known as National Research Foundation
Members, selected by the President on the basis of their inter­
est in and capacity to promote the purposes of the Foundation.
The terms of the Members should be, say, 4 years, and no
Member should be eligible for immediate reappointment pro­
vided he has served a full 4-year term. It should be arranged
that the Members first appointed serve terms of such length
that at least two Members are appointed each succeeding year.
The Members should serve without compensation but should
be entitled to their expenses incurred in the performance of
their duties.
The Members should elect their own chairman annually.
The chief executive officer of the Foundation should be a
director appointed by the Members. Subject to the direction
and supervision of the Foundation Members (acting as a
board), the director should discharge all the fiscal, legal, and
administrative functions of the Foundation. The director

The Means to the End


should receive a salary that is fully adequate to attract an out­
standing man to the post.
There should be an administrative office responsible to the
director to handle in one place the fiscal, legal, personnel, and
other similar administrative functions necessary to the accom­
plishment of the purposes of the Foundation.
With the exception of the director, the division members,
and one executive officer appointed by the director to administer
the affairs of each division, all employees of the Foundation
should be appointed under Civil Service regulations.
Organization: In order to accomplish the purposes of the
Foundation the Members should establish several professional
Divisions to be responsible to the Members. At the outset
these Divisions should be:
Division of Medical Research; the function of this Di­
vision should be to support medical research.
Division of Natural Sciences; the function of this Divi­
sion should be to support research in the physical and
natural sciences.
Division of National Defense j it should be the func­
tion of this Division to support long-range scientific re­
search on military matters.
Division of Scientific Personnel and Education; it
should be the function of this Division to support and to
supervise the grant of scholarships and fellowships in
Division of Publications and Scientific Collaboration;
this Division should be charged with encouraging the pub­
lication of scientific knowledge and promoting international
exchange of scientific information.
Each Division of the Foundation should be made up of at
least five members, appointed by the Members of the Founda­
tion. In making such appointments the Members should re­
quest and consider recommendations from the National Acad­
emy of Sciences which should be asked to establish a new Na­
tional Research Foundation nominating committee in order to



Endless Horizons

bring together the recommendations of scientists in all organi­
zations. The chairman of each Division should be appointed by
the Members of the Foundation.
The Division Members should be appointed for such terms
as the Members of the Foundation may determine, and may be
reappointed at the discretion of the Members. They should
receive their expenses and compensation for their services at a
per diem rate of, say, $50 while engaged on business of the
Foundation, but no division member should receive more than,
say, $10,000 compensation per year.
Membership of the Division of National Defense should in­
clude in addition to, say, five civilian members, one representa­
tive designated by the Secretary of War, and one representa­
tive designated by the Secretary of the Navy, who should serve
without additional compensation for this duty.
Functions: The Members of the Foundation should have the
following functions, powers, and duties:
To formulate over-all policies of the Foundation.
To establish and maintain such offices within the United
States, its territories and possessions, as they may deem
To meet and function at any place within the United
States, its territories and possessions.
To obtain and utilize the services of other Government
agencies to the extent that such agencies are prepared to
render such services.
To adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind rules and
regulations to carry out the provisions of the legislation
and the policies and practices of the Foundation.
To review and balance the financial requirements of the
several Divisions and to propose to the President the an­
nual estimate for the funds required by each Division.
Appropriations should be earmarked for the purposes of
specific Divisions, but the Foundation should be left dis­
cretion with respect to the expenditure of each Division’s

The Means to the End


To make contracts or grants for the conduct of research
by negotiation without advertising for bids.
And with the advice of the National Research Foundation
Divisions concerned—
To create such advisory and cooperating agencies and
councils, state, regional, or national, as in their judgment
will aid in effectuating the purposes of the legislation, and
to pay the expenses thereof.
To enter into contracts with or make grants to educa­
tional and nonprofit research institutions for support of
scientific research.
To initiate and finance in appropriate agencies, institu­
tions, or organizations, research on problems related to
the national defense.
To initiate and finance in appropriate organizations re­
search projects for which existing facilities are unavailable
or inadequate.
To establish scholarships and fellowships in the natural
sciences including biology and medicine.
To promote the dissemination of scientific and technical
information and to further its international exchange.
To support international cooperation in science by pro­
viding financial aid for international meetings, associations
of scientific societies, and scientific research programs or­
ganized on an international basis.
To devise and promote the use of methods of improv­
ing the transition between research and its practical ap­
plication in industry.
The Divisions should be responsible to the Members of the
Foundation for—
Formulation of programs and policy within the scope of
the particular Divisions.
Recommendation regarding the allocation of research
programs among research organizations.
Recommendation of appropriate arrangements between



Endless Horizons

the Foundation and the organizations selected to carry on
the program.
Recommendation of arrangements with State and local
authorities in regard to cooperation in a program of science
scholarships and fellowships.
Periodic review of the quality of research being con­
ducted under the auspices of the particular Division and
revision of the program of support of research.
Presentation of budgets of financial needs for the work
of the Division.
Maintaining liaison with other scientific research agen­
cies, both governmental and private, concerned with the
work of the Division.
Patent Policy: The success of the National Research Foun­
dation in promoting scientific research in this country will de­
pend to a very large degree upon the cooperation of organiza­
tions outside the Government. In making contracts with or
grants to such organizations the Foundation should protect the
public interest adequately and at the same time leave the co­
operating organization with adequate freedom and incentive to
conduct scientific research. The public interest will normally
be adequately protected if the Government receives a royaltyfree license for governmental purposes under any patents result­
ing from work financed by the Foundation. There should be
no obligation on the research institution to patent discoveries
made as a result of support from the Foundation. There should
certainly not be any absolute requirement that all rights in such
discoveries be assigned to the Government, but it should be left
to the discretion of the director and the interested Division
whether in special cases the public interest requires such an as­
signment. Legislation on this point should leave to the Mem­
bers of the Foundation discretion as to its patent policy in order
that patent arrangements may be adjusted as circumstances and
the public interest require.
Special Authority: In order to insure that men of great com­
petence and experience may be designated as Members of the

The Means to the End


Foundation and as members of the several professional Divi­
sions, the legislation creating the Foundation should contain
specific authorization so that the Members of the Foundation
and the Members of the Divisions may also engage in private
and gainful employment, notwithstanding the provisions of
any other laws: provided, however, that no compensation for
such employment is received in any form from any profit­
making institution which receives funds under contract, or
otherwise, from the Division or Divisions of the Foundation
with which the individual is concerned. In normal times, in view
of the restrictive statutory prohibitions against dual interests on
the part of Government officials, it would be virtually impos­
sible to persuade persons having private employment of any
kind to serve the Government in an official capacity. In order,
however, to secure the part-time services of the most competent
men as Members of the Foundation and the Divisions, these
stringent prohibitions should be relaxed to the extent indicated.
Since research is unlike the procurement of standardized
items, which are susceptible to competitive bidding on fixed
specifications, the legislation creating the National Research
Foundation should free the Foundation from the obligation to
place its contracts for research through advertising for bids.
This is particularly so since the measure of a successful research
contract lies not in the dollar cost but in the qualitative and
quantitative contribution which is made to our knowledge. The
extent of this contribution in turn depends on the creative
spirit and talent which can be brought to bear within a research
laboratory. The National Research Foundation must, there­
fore, be free to place its research contracts or grants not only
with those institutions which have a demonstrated research ca­
pacity but also with other institutions whose latent talent or
creative atmosphere affords promise of research success.
As in the case of the research sponsored during the war by
the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the research
sponsored by the National Research Foundation should be con­



Endless Horizons

ducted, in general, on an actual cost basis without profit to the
institution receiving the research contract or grant.
There is one other matter which requires special mention.
Since research does not fall within the category of normal com­
mercial or procurement operations which are easily covered by
the usual contractual relations, it is essential that certain statu­
tory and regulatory fiscal requirements be waived in the case of
research contractors. For example, the National Research
Foundation should be authorized by legislation to make, modi­
fy, or amend contracts of all kinds with or without legal con­
sideration, and without performance bonds. Similarly, advance
payments should be allowed in the discretion of the Director of
the Foundation when required. Finally, the normal vouchering requirements of the General Accounting Office with respect
to detailed itemization or substantiation of vouchers submitted
under cost contracts should be relaxed for research contractors.
Adherence to the usual procedures in the case of research con­
tracts will impair the efficiency of research operations and will
needlessly increase the cost of the work to the Government.
Without the broad authority along these lines which was con­
tained in the First War Powers Act and its implementing Ex­
ecutive Orders, together with the special relaxation of vouchering requirements granted by the General Accounting Office, the
Office of Scientific Research and Development would have been
gravely handicapped in carrying on research on military matters
during the war. Colleges and universities in which research
will be conducted principally under contract with the Founda­
tion are, unlike commercial institutions, not equipped to handle
the detailed vouchering procedures and auditing technicalities
which are required of the usual Government contractors.
Budget: Studies by the several committees provide a partial
basis for making an estimate of the order of magnitude of the
funds required to implement the proposed program. Clearly
the program should grow in a healthy manner from modest
beginnings. The following very rough estimates are given for
the first year of operation after the Foundation is organized


The Means to the End

and operating, and for the fifth year of operation, when it is
expected that the operations would have reached a fairly stable
Millions of dollars
First year Fifth year
Division of Medical Research__________ $5.0 $20.0
Division of Natural Sciences
Division of Scientific Personnel and Edu­
cation ____________________________ 7.0
Division of National Defense__________ 10.0
Division of Publications and Scientific Collaboration __________________ ____
Administration ______________________ 1.0


The National Research Foundation herein proposed meets
the urgent need of the days ahead. The form of the organi­
zation suggested is the result of considerable deliberation. The
form is important. The very successful pattern of organiza­
tion of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,
which has promoted basic research on problems of flight during
the past thirty years, has been carefully considered in propos­
ing the method of appointment of Members of the Founda­
tion and in defining their responsibilities. Moreover, what­
ever program is established it is vitally important that it satisfy
the Five Fundamentals.
Legislation is necessary. It should be drafted with great
care. Early action is imperative, however, if this nation is to
meet the challenge of science and fully utilize the potentialities
of science. On the wisdom with which we bring science to bear
against the problems of the coming years depends in large mea­
sure our future as a nation.


It is not necessary for me to expound at length on the im­
portance of new weapons in modern warfare. That point is
generally understood. Today it is evident to all thinking peo­
ple that the evolution of new weapons may determine not only
the outcome of battles, but even the total strategy of war. That
has always been true to some extent, but today the rate of evo­
lution of military weapons is much more rapid than it has ever
been in the history of human conflict. Tomorrow the impact
of new weapons may be even more decisive.
The great change in pace which science and technology have
introduced :nto warfare underlines the vital importance of con­
tinuing an effective research on military problems in times of
peace. In the past, the pace of war has been sufficiently slow
so that this nation has never had to pay the full price of defeat
for its lack of preparedness. Twice we have just got by be­
cause wTe were given time to prepare while others fought. In
1941 the margin was narrower than in 1914. The next time—
and we must keep that eventuality in mind—we are not likely
to be so fortunate.
The speed and surprise with which great damage could be
done to our fleet at Pearl Harbor is only a mild warning of
what might happen in the future. The new German flying
bombs and rocket bombs, our own B-29, and the many electronic
devices now in use which were unknown five years ago, are
merely the forerunners of weapons which might possess over­
whelming power, the ability to strike suddenly, without warn­
ing, and without any adequate means of protection or retalia­
tion. I do not mean that some methods of protection or re­
taliation could not be developed. I mean only that we might

Research on Military Problems


not be given sufficient time within which to develop those
means, once hostilities had begun, before disaster overtook us.
It is imperative, therefore, that we begin at once to prepare
intelligently for the type of modern war which may confront
us with great suddenness some time in the future. We all hope
that no such event will occur. We all hope that means will be
found to secure peace among nations, and we are anxious to do
our full part in bringing about in due time an international or­
ganization and understanding that will truly preserve peace,
but in the meantime we need to keep our powder dry. More
specifically, we need to be effectively organized.
I think it is clear that we must not go back to either the
organization or the philosophy which prevailed with regard to
scientific research on military matters in the years between
1918 and 1939. Let me make myself fully clear. Many
admirable things were done by both the Armed Services and
civilian groups in those twenty-one years. Both the Army and
the Navy, for example, can be proud of some real technical ad­
vances during that period. But that is not the whole story. To
get a full picture we must remember also the neglect and the
mistakes. Of these there was a full quota.
Yet, in my judgment, it is truly remarkable that the Services
were able to accomplish as much as they did in the face of the
tremendous obstacles which beset them on every hand in the
peacetime years. The fundamental difficulty, of course, lay in
the attitude of the American people toward preparedness for
war. The American people were not prepared to build sound­
ly for war during times of peace. We cannot, therefore, expect
the Services to have accomplished what the people, by their
attitude, made it impossible to do. I might add, at this point,
that to the best of my own recollection, the Congress in those
years regularly voted the research appropriations requested by
the Services.
In addition to the attitude of the American people, however,
there were at least two fundamental obstacles to a truly suc­
cessful program for military research inherent within the Serv­



Endless Horizons

ices themselves. First, and more important, was the internal
organization of the Services. That organization gave insuffi­
cient recognition to science, its requirements or potentialities
as a phase of warfare. Second, in addition to the organizational
difficulties, service personnel, by training and tradition, did not,
by and large, appreciate either the position which scientific re­
search must occupy or the contribution it could make to any
successful program for the national defense.
The essential fact is that we failed during peace to do as
much as we most assuredly should. Certain of the reasons for
that failure are obvious. They should be cured with all the
vigor at our command. And it will require both vigor and
courage, for the roots of the trouble are deep.
Since someone is certain to suggest that the answer lies in
extending our wartime organization into the peace, let me meet
that argument now. The argument has deceptive plausibility.
It is deceptive for two reasons. In the first place, no temporary
expedients, effective as they may be, can outlast the emergency
pressures which gave them being and vitality. War improvisa­
tions should be recognized for what they are. In the second
place, no temporary improvisation, excellent as it may be, can
be completely effective if the fundamental organization upon
which it is superimposed is either weak or unsound.
Under the pressures of war, our temporary expedients have
worked well. It is not necessary for me to describe in detail
these temporary expedients. The Office of Scientific Research
and Development is one. It brought civilian scientists of the
very highest calibre into active participation on matters of mili­
tary research. It gave a civilian body, reporting directly to the
President, authority and funds both to support and to initiate
research on matters essential to the national defense. Within
the Services there have been similar expedients. They have
been explained by their responsible officers. The New Devel­
opments Division in the Army, under Brigadier General Wil­
liam A. Borden, and the Office of the Coordinator of Research
and Development in the Navy, under Rear Admiral J. A,

Research on Military Problems


Furer, are notable. Within the structure of the military itself,
moreover, and reporting directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
is the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment, over
which it has been my privilege to preside. This is the senior
staff body within the military organization itself on new weap­
ons and equipment.
When a new emergency arises it may well be necessary to
create new emergency organizations for temporary action.
There is a great advantage in new organizations created for
explicit emergency purposes. They have not accumulated the
rigidity and formalism toward which all organizations are like­
ly to trend with the passing of time and when not under pres­
sure. They are cut from whole cloth, and the vigor of youth
applies to organizations as well as to individuals.
Yet the continuation of an emergency organization after the
emergency has passed is likely to be as great an error as the
failure to create it when needed. We should not mistake emer­
gency remedies for a permanent cure.
Nor does the solution to the problem lie simply in the estab­
lishment of an agency through which the assistance of civilian
non-Governmental scientists can be made available to the Army
and Navy. The participation of civilian scientists in the scien­
tific aspect of military problems is only one small portion of
the total problem. The very heart of the problem of an ade­
quate postwar organization for the conduct of research and de­
velopment lies in the organization of the War and Navy De­
partments themselves. Unless this major problem is reso­
lutely faced and affirmatively resolved, the solution of the
peripheral problems (such as the form of organization for civil­
ian participation in military research) will not enable us to pre­
pare ourselves adequately for the wars which may come.
It may well be maintained that if the Army and the Navy
are properly organized, and if they approach the problem of
science and scientific research in the postwar era in a sound
and thorough fashion, the enthusiastic cooperation of civilians
will more readily follow. Even more important, a sound mili­



Endless Horizons

tary organization, which is receptive to the role of science and
of civilian scientists, will enable an auxiliary civilian organiza­
tion to operate to maximum advantage. The converse is equal­
ly true. No mere addition of an auxiliary civilian body de­
signed to aid the military effort will insure adequate develop­
ment of weapons in time of peace if the military organization
itself is unsound or unreceptive.
This question of postwar organization for military research
and development is an integral part of the major question of
the over-all peacetime military organization of this country. It
seems to me that the surface of the problem of adequate or ef­
fective organization for the defense of this country has only
been scratched.
Since the over-all postwar military framework has not yet
been fixed, it is difficult for me to discuss the problem of or­
ganization for military research and development in any ex­
plicit way. Yet certain fundamental principles seem clear. In
the hope that it may be helpful, I should like to summarize
four of the important principles which, to my mind, should be
observed in any postwar organization for military research.

(1) There must he adequate planning at the top both for
the evolution of weapons and for the strategic use. of new
At the outset, I should make it clear that in this discussion,
which will involve some criticism of the military system, I dif­
ferentiate between the system and the officers who operate
under it. There is no intention on my part to criticize any of
the officers in whom this country has placed its confidence and
who are among the most able military leaders this country has
ever produced. These officers and men have performed most
effectively under a system which is not calculated to make the
most of science and technology in modern war.
I also want it clear beyond all possibility of misunderstand­
ing or misconstruction that, in my judgment, the military and

Research on Military Problems


civilians, working together, fought the technical aspect of the
late war in an effective partnership. On the scientific front, on
research and new weapons, things in general went remarkably
well when we consider the great organizational handicaps un­
der which we started and which, to some extent, continued to
Military tradition, for example, has in the past, called for
planning in terms only of existing weapons. Such planning is
done in view of all the complexities of logistics, training, intel­
ligence, and personnel to fit into an over-all strategic program.
The failure to have at the top levels of the military organiza­
tion trained scientists and military leaders who plan in terms of
future weapons or weapons in process of evolution may be cost­
ly in terms of lives and battles. Of course, planning for im­
mediate campaigns must always be done in terms of existing
weapons. The long range planning of a whole war, however,
must go further. It must be done in the terms of the evolution
of weapons and strategy. In the future, the presence or ab­
sence of this type of planning at a high level may determine the
entire course of war.
Traditionally, the advanced military thinking on the im­
provement of weapons and on new methods of combat has
been left to the lower echelons. The theory has been that
any matter of sufficient importance will force itself up from
below upon its own merits, and demand the attention it de­
serves. There is, of course, a basis for this argument. Yet, the
course of modern war is so largely determined by the evolution
of new techniques that it is absolutely essential that first-class
thinking be done which combines military considerations with
the possibilities opened by technical progress. This thinking
can be done only at the top. To proceed without it in a modern
war is simply not good enough. Progress in complex tech­
nical matters is slow enough in the face of inertia, limited vi­
sion, obstinacy, vested position, tradition, and all the other ills
that flesh is heir to without superimposing the organizational
handicap of making new thinking fight its way to the attention



Endless Horizons

of the top level commanders who ought to be giving it affirma­
tive consideration.
Lest it be thought that this is merely a matter of generalities,
examples can best be drawn from the first World War. The
three great technical innovations of that war were tanks, poison
gas, and aircraft. All three produced effects on the course of
the war, yet these were essentially temporary and local. If
sufficient grasp and vision had been present to see possibilities at
the outset and prepare for full-scale surprise use thoroughly
followed up, there is little doubt that the war could have been
shortened, one way or the other. In particular, tanks, in their
then crude form, but in the absence of air opposition or anti­
tank weapons, could undoubtedly have turned immobile trench
warfare into a war of movement at that time as well as later,
had they been exploited to the full instead of tentatively and
on a shoestring. To have brought this about would have re­
quired the combined vision of military men with those who
understood the numerous possibilities of tracked vehicles. The
procedure whereby enthusiasts, with a novel method, convinced
the High Command sufficiently to overcome skepticism and ob­
tain a trial, could bring only small results; which it did.
There is need for technical planning at the top not only to
give affirmative direction and drive to new developments and
their use; there is an almost equal need for such planning at
the top in order to coordinate the work of the several branches
of the Services, both in the development and in the use of the
new weapons in which more than one branch is directly inter­
Our present military and naval organizations were built for
much more static armament than we have today. In the days
of wooden ships and iron men it was not only sufficient, it was
highly desirable, to place the full responsibility upon one officer
to see to it that those ships were soundly built, and upon an­
other to see that their guns were the best that could be con­
structed. We have come a long way from that situation, both

Research on Military Problems


in techniques and in organization; but our techniques have out­
run our organization for handling them.
It is still true and it will always remain true, that for the
effective performance of any organization, especially a military
organization, responsibility must be definitely assigned and re­
sponsibility and authority must go together. This sound prin­
ciple should never be departed from. In the case of military
research, however, this sound principle has been departed from
by the Services themselves. Whenever a new research pro­
gram or development appears which is not directly and entirely
within the cognizance of a particular branch, there has been no
body with responsibility and authority to direct and coordinate
the work of the several branches. It is essential that there be
such a person with power both affirmatively to direct new pro­
grams and to integrate existing programs when they involve
more than one Bureau or Service branch.
Modern weapons call for complex programs involving many
skills—so much so that an item as humble as a flashlight if
designed for special operational use may find itself the victim
of overlapping jurisdictions and competing demands for control
over both its development and procurement. Today, a single
complex unit of offense or defense, such as a radar-controlled
anti-aircraft installation, may cut across many of the traditional
branches of the military service. A complex weapon on the or­
der of the German V-bombs might, for example, involve
Chemical Warfare if it were an incendiary, Air Forces if it were
borne by wings, Signal Corps if it involved control devices,
Engineers if it needed emplacements for launching, and Ord­
nance. Similarly, a new type of incendiary bomb would in­
volve both Chemical Warfare and the Air Forces. Each has a
responsibility and each must be satisfied as to its own specifica­
tions, standards of safety, and performance. No one branch
sees the whole picture. No one branch can give over-all
The requirements of modern war have outrun the erstwhile
satisfactory formal organization. Bureaus and Services can



Endless Horizons

have responsibility for parts of a complex development, insti­
tuted and ordered from the top, but often no one Bureau or
Service can do the whole job itself. Nor in fact, can it be done
from the top unless some of the men in positions of great au­
thority grasp the trends of science and its implications. This
they can do only if science and its applications have bulked large
in their professional careers.
The problem, therefore, is to provide some means by which
scientific and technical thinking of the highest calibre may fuse
with military thinking at the top level of command. A number
of things can and should be done to bring this about. The pre­
cise steps which must be taken will, of course, to a large extent
depend upon the ultimate framework of the military organiza­
tion. The full solution will, naturally, come slowly, particu­
larly since the art of using scientific and technical thinking as a
part of top level planning will not ensue merely by providing
for its presence. There must be a conviction within the Serv­
ices that individuals must be so placed. Moreover, such indi­
viduals must be of the intellectual fiber and background to
enable them to synthesize the two types of thought, military
and scientific, into an integrated whole.

(2) The position of the technical man in uniform must he
It is not enough merely that technical and scientific planning
be done at the level of high command. The position of the
technical man should be improved throughout the length and
breadth of both the Services. Men in responsible positions
should have better technical training. Conversely, soundly
trained technical men should be eligible for high command.
Lastly, broad or complex programs of research and develop­
ment should have a status at a staff level.
Under conditions of modern war a grasp of broad technical
trends would seem to be as fine a qualification, when combined
with indoctrination in the art of command, as an officer of the

Research on Military Problems


top rank could possibly have. Yet, the practice of the two
American Services seems to have been based on the assump­
tion that technical specialization is incompatible with high com­
mand. It is hard to see how this tradition ever arose \ yet it
has certainly existed for a long period of time. It is reflected
in many ways: in the limited courses in science given at West
Point and Annapolis, in the failure of the regulations on pro­
motion and selection for high command to give due credit to
advanced scientific and technical accomplishment—in effect, the
road to high command lies through field command alone. As
an example, the Construction Corps of the Navy, although it
certainly produced outstanding combat ships and although it
attracted, while it existed, some of the finest minds in the Navy,
nevertheless did not furnish a corresponding quota of officers
to positions of high command. The difficulty under which the
scientist labors is also reflected in the fact that research unsuc­
cessfully conducted places a permanent blot on a military ca­
reer. It should be recognized, however, that in research which
is forward looking and advanced in nature, many failures are
the price of one success.
Men in uniform should receive better and more nearly fun­
damental scientific training. Provision should be made for
advanced scientific training of large numbers of officers either
at special Service schools or through a fuller utilization of ex­
isting colleges and universities. The War College idea is a
sound one. It should be extended to include an advanced mili­
tary college devoted to the evolution of weapons and its rela­
tion to strategy. It should bring together for training officers
of land, sea, and air. Its courses and problems should be tough
so as to test and exert the best brain power. Successful com­
pletion of the course should give an officer definite credit to­
ward promotion in the line that leads to great responsibility and
high command.
The Service schools themselves will want to bring new meth­
ods of teaching and new subjects to their curricula. They will
want to follow the modern trend and give more attention to



Endless Horizons

expanding the horizons and broadening the mental grasp of
the officers-to-be.
Until technical men in uniform are given better training and
until they find a readier route to positions of command, it is
certain that the top levels of our military command will not
grasp the full implications of military innovations and will not
be organized to handle them to optimum advantage in some
possible future highly technical war. We have, of course, to­
day some officers at high levels with a technical background
and appreciation. The rapid technical advance of air warfare,
and the constant peacetime association of the Navy with tech­
nical matters, inevitably has produced such individuals. My
point, however, is that we must have many more such individ­
uals and they must have a broader scientific preparation for
their responsibilities.
The position of technical men in the Services suffers not only
from the failure to give a position of importance and respon­
sibility to skilled scientists and technicians, but also from the
failure to give an independent and important status to research
and technology itself. In the Services, research is subordinated
as incidental to the work of branches whose primary interests
and responsibilities are in other directions.
The Services have not yet learned—as industry was forced to
learn a long time ago—that it is fatal to place a research or­
ganization under the production department. In the Services,
it is still the procurement divisions who maintain the research
organizations. The evils of this arrangement are many. Basi­
cally, research and procurement are incompatible. New devel­
opments are upsetting to procurement standards and procure­
ment schedules. A procurement group is under the constant
urge to regularize and standardize, particularly when funds
are limited. Its primary function is to produce a sufficient sup­
ply of standard weapons for field use. Procurement units are
judged, therefore, by production standards. Research, how­
ever, is the exploration of the unknown. It is speculative, un­
certain. It cannot be standardized. It succeeds, moreover, in

Research on Military Problems


virtually direct proportion to its freedom from performance
controls, production pressures, and traditional approaches.
In the case of research, a scientist agrees to use his best efforts
in the solution of a particular problem and he is paid for the
effort and talent which he devotes to the job. Since research
is speculative, a research scientist must be paid—or promoted—
whether or not he succeeds in solving the assigned problem.
In the case of procurement, on the other hand, one must fur­
nish a particular product to meet stated specifications and one is,
therefore, paid—or promoted—only for a product which satis­
fies those specifications.
Moreover, a procurement unit is under constant pressure to
produce sufficient quantities of material for use on the far-flung
battlefronts and can make no adequate or special provision for
the prompt supply in small quantities of important new devices.
To be effective, new devices must be the responsibility of a
group of enthusiasts whose attentions are undiluted by other
and conflicting responsibilities. As it is now, with nearly the
entire procurement scheme geared to the mass production of
great quantities of standardized equipment, the small special
job becomes an orphan.
The union in the Services of the research and procurement
functions has one other unfortunate consequence. A procure­
ment unit which also is responsible for research is not anxious
either to use or to recognize the merit of developments made
by those outside the unit. Human nature being what it is, and
it is certainly no different inside military organizations from
outside, the result is to slow down the adoption of devices which
first appear or are first suggested outside of the procurement
unit. This may be particularly serious when we remember that
modern weapons may either draw their components from or
be, at least in part, the responsibility of several competing pro­
curement units—each of which is in a position to retard or ad­
vance the progress of the other.
What is required is a separate organization within the Serv­
ices for research, for development, and for rapid procurement,



Endless Horizons

in experimental production, of small lots of new equipment to
be used for field testing, and in critical situations for actual use
against the enemy. Such an organization must be in the hands
of trained enthusiasts and, although linked at all levels with all
branches of the Services, it should report directly to an officer
on the very top level of command who has the training, vision,
and competence to direct the broad formulation of new weap­
ons and to devise the techniques by which they should be em­
ployed. This will make it a main staff function to coordinate
research, procurement and requirements—a job which can be
done only by men who thoroughly understand all three.

(3) There should be a genuine scientific interlinkage be­
tween the two Services.
It is hard to realize that there was a time not so long ago
when the two Services were completely insulated from each
other in certain technical areas. The failure of the two Services
to have technical cooperation at all levels was not only waste­
ful and short-sighted from the point of view of technical prog­
ress, but harmful to adequate preparation for the defense of the
This problem of technical interlinkage between the Services
is, of course, only incidental to the important, broader problem
of adequate interrelation between the Services on all subjects.
That problem is one which should be explored very thorough­
ly. In whatever way adequate linkage between the Services
may be brought about, whether by a permanent Chiefs of Staff
organization or otherwise, it is evident that such interrelation
must be extended to technical matters.
On this question of mechanics, however, it is my personal
view that, in peacetime, the device of linking the two Services
with joint boards which report only to the two Services will be
ineffective. Such Boards would have no one in a position of
authority to resolve the inevitable differences. The Boards
could operate only by unanimous consent. In wartime, how­

Research on Military Problems


ever, such an arrangement does manage to work. The reason,
of course, lies in the fact that, under the exigencies of war, men
will agree. In peace, there is no comparable stimulus to agree­
ment. Moreover, operating on a basis of agreement through
joint boards is contrary to the fundamental and ever valid
military principle that some one person must have the respon­
sibility, and the power, to resolve all differences.
The technical problems of the two Services are, of course,
not the same. Yet, there are broad areas in which they over­
lap. The fact that the problems and points of view of the
Services differ to some extent would be a distinct advantage in
any interchange of ideas. This cross-fertilization of ideas be­
tween two groups, each with its own particular set of problems,
has long been established as an essential prerequisite to success­
ful research. Scientific achievement on one set of problems can
often furnish the key to progress on a broad front.
Adequate interlinkage will also avoid unnecessary duplica­
tion of facilities and effort, particularly when it comes to build­
ing large numbers of expensive devices. This does not mean,
however, that there should not be parallel programs within
the two Services. In the early stages of research and develop­
ment on any problem, parallel programs are essential, not only
to insure that all avenues of attack are covered, but because a
parallel approach affords the necessary stimulus of competition.
It keeps research scientists on their toes. Parallel effort is often
highly economical in a long-range sense.
Whatever interlinkage of the Services is ultimately pro­
vided, it should not be allowed to inhibit the esprit de corps
and the pride in organization which is at the heart of much of
our military strength. We owe too much to the aggressive
fighting spirit of our Navy, of our Marines, of our Air Forces,
and of our indomitable Infantry to take any steps which would
reduce the justifiable pride of belonging to unique, aggressive,
skilled, fighting organizations. The significance of the uniform
should not be diluted in the name of economy. Rivalry be­
tween Services and branches, extending even as it sometimes



Endless Horizons

does to absurdities, nevertheless is a real source of military

(4) There should he some form of partnership between ci­
vilian scientists and the military.
An improved form of civilian collaboration with the military
on matters of military research should be worked out. This
may be done within the Services themselves or outside of the
Services, by means of a civilian scientific body with both the
power and the funds to initiate research. Both of these alter­
natives are worth a brief examination.
The problem of working out within the Services a status for
civilian scientists and technical men is particularly acute. Amer­
ican practice has been to insert such civilians at various levels.
As a result, civilians have had to report directly to the uni­
formed personnel at the level to which they were attached. In
spite of notable individual exceptions, this practice does not at­
tract into the Services scientific and technical men of the high­
est caliber.
American practice has also been to keep the civilian organi­
zations attached to the Secretaries small. They operate pri­
marily to keep the Secretaries informed and especially in con­
nection with procurement, to implement the policies of the
Secretary in connection with the business affairs of the depart­
ment. The philosophy, and it is a sound one, is that the Sec­
retary will determine internal policies and conduct external
relations with other agencies of the Government, but will not
interfere with the detailed performance of essentially military
matters. Thus, in this country we do not find civilians operat­
ing important branches within the department and reporting to
the Secretary.
British practice has been somewhat different. In the Admir­
alty, for example, there has long been a civilian structure, on
matters of finance and business, reporting to the permanent
Secretary of the Admiralty. Separate ministries for procure­

Research on Military Problems


ment divide the business from the military affairs of Army and
Air Force up to the level of the Cabinet. In these circum­
stances, and under the pressure of war, there has been a decided
trend toward the organization of research and developmental
matters in such a way that civilian research workers report
through civilian organizations to the top.
In this country during the late war the Office of Scientific
Research and Development, an emergency agency, produced
some of the same results. It was linked to the uniformed Serv­
ices at all levels, but reported directly to the President. OSRD
also maintained sufficient independence and initiative to insure
vigorous action, and to hold its civilian workers under civilian
control, which they understood and under which they worked
One solution to the problem thus lies in the great expansion
of the offices of the Secretaries in time of peace, with a civilian
branch devoted to research and development. This has its dis­
tinct advantages. It can be carried to the point where there is
a full structure, on basic research, on far-reaching develop­
ments, in civilian hands, within the control of the department
itself, but in parallel with the current improvement of existing
weapons by the Bureaus and Services. The experience of the
British, and their further development of this scheme after the
war, will be worthy of serious study. The scheme is, however,
contrary to what has long been prewar American practice.
Another approach lies in revised organization within the
existing branches of the Services so as to achieve more effective
use of their civilian employees. The emphasis should be on an
essential professional partnership between scientists and mili­
tary men. The conditions of civilian employment should ap­
proach, in opportunity for recognition, freedom of action, and
group esprit de corps, those of the better university and indus­
trial organizations, if scientific men of the highest caliber are
to be attracted.



Endless Horizons

A third approach lies in expanding and improving the Serv­
ices’ system of contracting with private laboratories for research
tasks. It is important that contractors be given a free hand to
carry out their assigned tasks in accordance with their own con­
ception of what should be done. In the last analysis, it is the
effort and the particular talent of the skilled civilian scientists
that should be sought. That effort and that talent will only
suffer if the Services seek to substitute their own ideas and in­
structions or the ideas and instructions of their lower echelons
for that of the skilled technical men in the contractor’s employ.
The research scientist is, after all, exploring the unknown. He
cannot be subjected to strict controls, nor can he be given de­
tailed instructions as to the solution of the problems which he
is retained to solve.
Which of these or other approaches should be adopted by it­
self, or in combination with others, must depend in the last
analysis on what our postwar military structure may turn out
to be, on whether the position of the scientist within the Serv­
ices is improved, and on whether the over-all organization for
research and development within the Services is adequate.
Regardless of what the internal organization of the Services
may be, it is desirable to have outside of the Services them­
selves a civilian body with authority, and funds, to conduct re­
search on matters which have military significance.
Such a body would supplement the work of the Services with
the freshness of approach and independence of mind which are
invaluable to successful research. For nearly thirty years the
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics has been such a
body. That Committee, of which it was my privilege to be
Chairman for several years, supervises and directs the scien­
tific study of the problems of flight in the closest of coopera­
tion with both the Army and the Navy. If it had not been
for this Committee, our country would not have been in the

Research on Military Problems


strong position in which it found itself in aeronautical matters
at the beginning of the late war.
We must face up to the fact that although research on mili­
tary problems and military weapons is largely a military mat­
ter, it is not entirely so. The job is primarily one for the
trained professional scientist and engineer. It is a mistake to
believe that since science has military importance, scientific re­
search should be run exclusively by military men.
The two Services exist to fight. That is their primary rea­
son for being. In order to fight a modern war, the military
must draw upon industry, agriculture, science, and all the other
facets of our economy. Because industry, agriculture, and sci­
ence have vital military use does not mean, however, that they
should be made the exclusive responsibility of the military.
It is true that the Services have been charged with the de­
fense of our country. It does not follow from that premise,
however, that all aspects of the civilian economy which have
vital military significance should be the exclusive function of
the military. Not only would that be illogical, it would be a
great practical mistake. The military cannot be expected to be
experts in all the complicated fields which make it possible for
a great nation to fight successfully a total war. The job of
fundamental research can succeed best if given to those best
trained to handle it.
Civilian science must clearly do the job, which by specialized
training it is equipped to do. Civilian science cannot make its
true contribution, however, if its efforts are subject to the com­
plete direction of the military or if it has no independent funds.
The real answer to the problem, of course, is a partnership be­
tween the military and civilian scientists. But a true and effec­
tive partnership can come about only if both are equals in a
common endeavor. They must be equals and independent in
authority, in prestige, and in funds.



Endless Horizons

I am so sure that the evolution of weapons is exceedingly
important in the conduct of modern war, so anxious to impress
this importance that we may be fully prepared for what may
lie ahead of us in the future, that I should add a word to be
sure I am not misunderstood. The weapon is an adjunct and
a tool only. It should be better than the tool in the hands of
the enemy. But wars are fought by men. The fighting strength
of this country rests on many factors, and we will be strong
only as each element is strong. It rests on the skill of mili­
tary leaders, their ability to command, their readiness to ac­
cept appalling responsibility which would crush men of weaker
fiber, their knowledge of their complex profession. It rests on
business men, on their patriotic willingness to take chances in a
common cause, on their ability to organize and manage com­
plex affairs. It rests upon every laborer at the bench or in the
field, upon their technical skills and their determination to sup­
port their sons in combat by supplying them fully. It rests
upon the women of the country, as they endure the stress of
war, and as they encourage and support their men folk, and
carry on men’s work. It rests especially upon the men in the
ranks, upon their ruggedness of body and mind, upon their
fighting spirit, upon their belief in their cause as they come
to define it.
The scientists in war are merely one more group in a country
which fights. They have special skills and training, which can
be especially useful when intelligently applied, and which
should not be squandered. They are in no sense a privileged
classj they are just one more group in a democratic society,
ready and willing to put forth their best efforts in whatever
way will best serve the common cause. They are exceedingly
proud to have been full partners in the dangerous effort just
past, and they will stand ready to serve their country in peace
by adding their bit to the national effort to maintain this coun­
try strong.

Development of systems for the control and utilization of
atomic energy is the most important task ever faced by the
governments of the world. For the continued progress of
civilization, it is imperative that people be safeguarded against
sudden destruction by atomic bombs. It is highly to be desired,
for the betterment of living for mankind everywhere, that the
great resources of useful power offered by further development
of atomic science become generally available.
No more intricate and exacting problem was ever posed to
governments than this one. It is inherently complex because
the science of the atom is complex. The fact that the deadly
military potentialities of the atomic bomb and the beneficent
industrial applications of atomic power are almost inextricably
intermixed complicates it further. The urge to prevent wars is
very strong in all minds, for we have just emerged from a ter­
rible war. The desire to enjoy the better life promised by ap­
plications of atomic power is strong also. Because the means
of producing this peaceful power can readily be converted into
an atomic bomb for destruction, the mechanism for world
peace and the mechanism for world control of atomic energy
are profoundly interrelated. Preventing war is a long task,
which must be done bit by bit; so also is the development of
peaceful atomic power. The two must be related in our thinking.
In a nationalistic world, all peoples will seek to attain an
equal footing with respect to anything so powerful as atomic
energy. If the mechanism of world peace is available and is
strong enough, peoples may be expected to relinquish some­
thing of their traditional nationalism to attain that equal footing




Endless Horizons

through international organization. If no dependable mech­
anism is available, a secret arms race in the surreptitious devel­
opment of atomic bombs may be foreseen. Any well thought
out plan for orderly progress toward the banishment of war
will start here, with the prevention of such secret preparations.
The end of open preparations may then follow, to be followed
in turn by the end to war itself. The start of the journey to­
ward this great goal is in such a seemingly simple thing as the
establishment of the complete flow of information—particularly
of basic scientific information—across national boundaries.
The three governments which shared knowledge and skill to
enable scientists to achieve the chain reaction and industry to
create the materials for the bombs that ended the war have
fittingly made the first move toward the establishment of mech­
anisms for the control of atomic energy and for the develop­
ment of peace for which that control is an essential requirement.
The declaration which grew out of the recent conference of
President Truman, Prime Minister Attlee, and Prime Minister
King is a very important document. It would have been im­
portant simply as a declaration for a peaceful world. It is of
the very greatest importance because it chose the right path
to the goal, blocked out the journey into practical, sensible
stages, and clearly mapped the crucial first marches. The
declaration is notable moreover because it entrusts to the United
Nations Organization this momentous international responsi­
bility. It is of the utmost importance that the member states,
especially the great powers, upon whose co-operative effort
success depends, do all within their capacity to assure that suc­
cess. The way to international collaboration and control has
been opened. But it will be a long way. As we progress along
it, the separate national states must set their own houses in
order, establish internal systems of control, and thus bring into
being agencies which can support the international agency.
Eagerness to assure world peace is laudable enough. The

The Control of Atomic Energy


great hazard is the kind of over-eagerness which cannot endure
the long patient work which will be needed, and which there­
fore argues for quick answers, such as “outlawing” the atomic
bomb. Premature outlawry could well be disastrous, for it is
impossible to outlaw when there is no effectively supported law.
The first task is to create this. A good start has been made.
The best possible support which our government can bring to
that good start is the expeditious passage of sound legislation
for domestic regulation and development of atomic energy.
During the lengthy period necessary for creation of an inter­
national system, it will be possible for this government not only
to enact the needed legislation but also to operate, test, and if
necessary revise the domestic control system which that legisla­
tion establishes. By the experience of so doing, we may well
secure experimental evidence that will be helpful in the per­
formance of the international task.
Moreover, the passage of suitable domestic control legislation
is urgently needed for purely domestic reasons. The present
state of world affairs demands a strong United States. This is
no time to let delay dissipate our strength, to let doubt and
indecision hamper the great program of atomic science on which
we are well embarked. People are getting tired of hearing
about the atom, and when people get tired, they tend to turn
away from issues. This is an issue which cannot in conscience
be so ignored. Between the first and second World Wars, the
United States experimented with disarmament in an unorgan­
ized world—to sad result. The sort of thinking which that
involved should long ago have been discredited. If we are to
do our fair share in the exacting, patient work of international
regulation, we must vigorously get at the domestic task now.
Though the problem itself is great and new, it is susceptible of
solution by the same means which have brought governments
into being, gradually rendered them more efficient as agencies
for the general betterment of man’s lot, and reached a high
point in the United Nations Charter. Those means are hardheaded analysis and honest good will. The first, used to the



Endless Horizons

full in determining our internal control system, will clear the
way for the second in international affairs.
From this point of view, then, let us consider general princi­
ples which legislation for internal control and development of
atomic energy should embody.
The vast physical plants, the stockpiles of materials, the
varied applications of knowledge which taken together consti­
tute the Manhattan Engineer District belong not to any man
or group of men, not to any corporation or group of corpora­
tions. They are the property of the people of the United
States through their government, in which are vested title to
the physical properties and patent rights covering the engineer­
ing processes. This is as it should be, for the power of this
development, for good or for ill, is too great to be otherwise
held. Legislation for the further control and the further ex­
tension of this development should fortify this condition. At
the same time, it should make proper provision for the active
participation of private individuals and private corporations in
the further utilization of atomic energy, under sound regulatory
procedures embodied in a sensible licensing system.
For the years immediately before us, the deadly rather than
the beneficent power of atomic energy will continue to hold
first place in men’s minds. Until suitable and effectual means
for international control of military applications of atomic
energy have been established and proved, the atomic bomb will
continue to be a menace. Rigorous provisions for security
concerning military exploitation of atomic energy, therefore,
will continue to be essential. Our experience here will be of
double value in the international effort, for it can become the
basis for provisions to eliminate from the war machinery of
nations not only atomic weapons but also other weapons nearly
as deadly, by which we should be seriously imperiled in another
war if atomic bombs had never existed. To solve the problem
of the bomb is important in itself, and of greater importance

The Control of Atomic Energy


still as a contribution toward solving the entire international
problem of war.
The manufacture of fissionable materials is by long odds the
most dangerous manufacturing process in which men have ever
engaged. The process is accompanied by the production of
radioactive by-products as poisonous as the basic material itself;
should the process used in producing power be ill managed and
get out of hand it would produce a great and deadly volume of
such poisons. Improper or incautious manipulating of substan­
tial amounts of fissionable materials by inadequately trained or
irresponsible investigators is a danger to the public safety which
government must avert. Legislation for the internal control of
atomic energy would be shortsighted indeed if it did not make
thorough provision in this regard.
No better illustration of the complexity of the atomic energy
problem can be had than the dilemma posed by this need for
security and public-safety provisions as against the need for
scientific freedom in the further study and investigation of
atomic science. Atomic energy as we now know it and as we
have employed it in the making of atomic bombs came about
as a result of long and patient experimental investigation. If
we are to press forward with the further development of atomic
science for employment in peaceful power installations, if we
are to explore to the full the beneficial possibilities in medical
use of the radioactive by-products of the fission process, if we
are to go ahead with the search for pure knowledge in the field
of which our present atomic knowledge is but a small part, we
must so arrange controls that the research worker will possess
the right and the freedom to carry on his studies.
A nice line of distinction hence must be drawn in security and
safety provisions, in order to make possible not only untram­
meled investigation but also the publication and sharing of re­
sults through which alone can we be sure of the fully produc­
tive thought on which scientific advances are based. The best
way of determining this line is to define the critical situation



Endless Horizons

that trenches on safety or security and provide for regulation
up to that point only.
The United States is on record in favor of open doors in
laboratories throughout the world and has declared its readi­
ness to open its own doors if others will do likewise. Our legis­
lation must be so drawn as to give substance to this declara­
tion. Study of safety and security provisions must in addition
take into consideration such questions as whether we should
go beyond the declaration and open our laboratories before we
are sure this is world policy, and whether we should provide for
dissemination of our findings regardless of reciprocation.
Extreme care in the formulation of the legislation, extreme
judiciousness in the selection of men to administer the legisla­
tion once drawn, are essential if we are to insure against freez­
ing the science at its present stage, hamstringing further study,
and repelling able minds from this field.
Not at once, but surely in a reasonable time, it will be prac­
ticable for man to use the controlled energy of the atom for
direct peaceful purposes. Atomic energy as a source of steam
power and of electric power will in due course—and not neces­
sarily a long course—become available. If only because the
best way to insure against the existence of atomic bombs is to
separate and distribute their components in industrial installa­
tions, we should seek to bring about the industrial use of atomic
power at the earliest moment.
The foregoing five principles, it seems to me, must be prop­
erly recognized in legislation for the domestic control and
development of atomic science. Such legislation must insure
to the American people their control of plant and process, must
safeguard knowledge of the military applications of atomic
energy, must properly guard the physical well-being of the
people against the many hazards to life and health which the
investigation and production of atomic energy involve, must
provide for free and full research and interchange of knowl­
edge in this new and promising field, and must reckon with the
future task of putting fissionable materials to useful work.

One of the advantages of a democracy is that when it is en­
gaged in a war, no one feels that everything should be con­
trolled by the military. There are great areas where civilian
organizations can operate to better advantage, and this is and
has been our accepted policy. The joints may creak at times,
and there is bound to be confusion simply in view of the enor­
mous magnitude of the job involved, but in general we get
along faster when civilian organization produces the weapons
with which the Army and Navy fight. The same advantages
may be cited for civilian research and development, collaborat­
ing closely with the armed services, and meeting their needs as
far as is physically possible, but acting with that flexibility and
freedom which come from independent organization.
I believe, and I know that I am joined in this belief by most
of the men with whom I have worked closely in the past few
years, that we got on more rapidly and more effectively during
the late war in the development and introduction of new weap­
ons under the form of organization whereby civilian groups
supplemented the work of the Army and Navy than we would
have had the entire affair been closely under military control.
There are many reasons for this. One of them is the fact that
the Army and Navy were exceedingly busy with immediate
considerations. It would be difficult indeed for a military or­
ganization to provide adequately for the long-range view
while at the same time carrying its enormous responsibilities in
regard to the battle which may come in a few months.
I feel sure that new and valuable ideas are much more likely
to come to fruition if they can develop their formative stages
among groups of independent scientists and engineers before




Endless Horizons

being subjected to the rigors of military association. When we
are engaged with skillful and resourceful enemies, we should
not at any point underestimate them.
Certainly Germany had too long a history of scientific and
technical accomplishment for us to underrate its possibilities in
applying its skill to the conduct of war. It is no secret that
Germany was fully engaged in the development of war tech­
niques for a much longer time than the democracies. Never­
theless, I believe that the rigid military regime in Germany
was at a disadvantage, when it came to the development of
really new ideas, as compared with the United States, with its
ingenuity and resources. I believe that this is especially true
in view of the fact that the organization under which we oper­
ated gave full rein to the independent efforts of some of the
finest scientists and engineers that the country has produced,
under conditions in which they worked substantially in their
own way and in accordance with their chosen methods, but
toward a common end.
But a democracy in wartime has certain handicaps also. Un­
fortunately, from one point of view, our own country has a
striking difficulty in adapting itself to modern war which is not
generally realized. We are a people who think in terms of mass
production. This is excellent, and it constitutes one of our
greatest factors of strength. It has, however, the distinct lia­
bility that we are likely to think in terms of freezing of designs
and production of great masses of standardized equipment, and
we think much less readily in terms of a rapidly changing tech­
nical situation. In modern war it is a serious thing to be inflex­
ible in this regard.
Weapons are continually changing. Some years ago I used
to meet military men who took the point of view that once war
was entered upon, the fighting would have to be done by utiliz­
ing the instrumentalities available at the beginning of the con­
flict. I have not heard this view expressed for quite a long
while now. Every phase of warfare is changing and is chang­
ing radically, and the change is coming about primarily because

Research and the War Effort


the methods used are vastly different. The central problem,
therefore, in the effective conduct of war from this standpoint
is to be sure that our weapons are thoroughly up to date. This
involves a long chain of endeavor, beginning with scientific re­
search and engineering development, and proceeding through
tests, procurement, installation, and the training of personnel, to
the final use in combat. If any one of these steps is not thor­
oughly and carefully taken, the end result will not be sufficient.
But the process must be swift also, and mass mindedness is a
dangerous state for us unless we also keenly realize its dangers.
Under ordinary peacetime circumstances the progress from a
brand new idea to its use in quantity by the public occupies at
least five years. There has to be research, development, and
engineering design. There has to be design for production and
user experience obtained under carefully controlled conditions.
Out of this can come a well-engineered device adapted for pro­
duction in quantity to meet a mass need in an economic man­
ner. Under ordinary peacetime conditions a company that is
introducing a new product will short-circuit this proper and
deliberate method at its peril, for large indeed are the penal­
ties of plunging into quantity production before all of the loose
ends are tucked in. Yet in time of war we are faced with the
dilemma of shortening this process or else being dangerously
behind the times. Under the stress of war it is possible to com­
press the time scale somewhat. If it is compressed too much
and proper engineering is not accomplished, the results may
be very sad. On the other hand, delay in getting new devices
into operation in time may have consequences that are dis­
astrous. The attainment of a proper balance in this regard is
one of the most difficult problems confronting the industry that
produces the devices and the military groups that utilize them.
I feel that on the whole we have done a remarkable job of at­
taining a just balance and I wish to emphasize strongly that the
matter can never receive too much consideration and attention
in a country such as ours, where all our normal peacetime habits



Endless Horizons

lie along the lines of standardization and large-scale produc­

In the progress of a new weapon, from the first idea to the
final use, engineers and scientific men of professional grade
enter at many points. Notably they appear as a part of the
personnel of the armed services themselves, and they appear
also in those services which are auxiliary to manufacturing ef­
fort but none the less essential if the whole scheme is to func­
tion adequately. I shall not attempt to trace all aspects of
this matter by any means. I feel, however, that it will be worth
while to trace the phase that is concerned primarily with the
development of the new weapon from the standpoint of the
government organization which was charged with this respon­
sibility in the late war.
The scientists and engineers of this country were organized
under governmental auspices for the development of new
weapons when in June, 1940, there was formed the National
Defense Research Committee, charged by the President with
the duty of research and development of new weapons and
instruments of war. The initial organization was relatively
small, but it grew to a considerable scale. In June, 1941, a
reorganization occurred and the Office of Scientific Research
and Development was formed by executive order. OSRD was
given the broad task of coordinating the efforts of scientists
and technical men in connection with many phases of the war
effort, but it was also given the definite charge of pursuing
aggressively the work that had already been started by NDRCj
and for this purpose NDRC was incorporated into its organiza­
tion. At the same time OSRD also was charged with the car­
rying on of medical research closely associated with the prose­
cution of the war, and it did so through the efforts of the Com­
mittee on Medical Research which was a part of its organiza­
Toward the end of the war, OSRD was making expendi­

Research and the War Effort


tures at the rate of about $175,000,000 a year. In terms of
the over-all war cost this is not a large sum of money. It is,
however, a substantial sum when considered in terms of re­
search and development. OSRD operated entirely by con­
tracts with existing academic institutions, industrial organiza­
tions, and government agencies. This method was designed
to utilize to the utmost available facilities and personnel and
to avoid, as far as it could be accomplished, the construction of
great new laboratories. About 2,260 contracts for the carrying
on of research were entered into. Approximately 315 indus­
trial laboratories and 150 colleges and universities were en­
gaged in work on OSRD projects, and the number of men of
professional grade involved was in the neighborhood of 6,000.
The way in which the organization functioned will, I think,
be of interest. There was the closest sort of interrelationship
with the Army and Navy at all levels. NDRC was broken
down into 18 major divisions concerned with various phases of
war research, and in many cases these in turn were subdivided
into sections. Each section was composed of scientists and engi­
neers who were specialists on some phase of the enormous
range of war instruments. Working closely with them were
officers from the Army and Navy who were also specialists in
the fields concerned, but who had in addition the war experi­
ence and the contact with tactical reasoning which is essential
for sound planning.
The research projects arose in the sections, usually by reason
of round-the-table discussion of the changing situation and the
need for improvement. Out of such discussions came usually
a definite request from either the Army or the Navy that
OSRD undertake a development along a certain line. The
section was charged with the duty of finding the best laboratory
for the conduct of the work and the best personnel to carry it
on. After these considerations were met, the section then rec­
ommended a contract for the accomplishment of the work. This
recommendation was reviewed by NDRC, and if the Commit­
tee approved, it passed the recommendation, together with its



Endless Horizons

endorsement, to the director of OSRD, who authorized the
work to proceed.
The NDRC examined the operations of divisions through
the medium of small subcommittees, and by bringing before it
the chiefs of the several divisions.
The manner in which NDRC operated in this connection was
of great importance since it was the central reviewing agency
which tied together the entire program. Dr. James Conant,
president of Harvard University, was the chairman of NDRC,
and its members were as follows: Dr. Roger Adams, head of
the department of chemistry of the University of Illinoisj Dr.
Karl T. Compton, president of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology; Dr. Frank B. Jewett, president of the National
Academy of Sciences; Dr. Richard C. Tolman, dean of the
graduate school of the California Institute of Technology.
These men primarily represented American science and engi­
neering. Conway P. Coe, then Commissioner of Patents, was
also a member; he brought to NDRC wide knowledge of in­
ventions and their appropriate handling. Notable among the
Service representatives were Major General C. C. Williams,
whose office in the War Department’s Services of Supply was
in touch with developmental work throughout the Army and
was also in touch with the needs of the Army; and Captain
Lybrand P. Smith of the Navy Department, where he served
in the Office of the Co-ordinator of Research and Development.
Once a project had been authorized by OSRD in the manner
described above, the office of the chairman of NDRC was
charged with the duty of administering the project from its
scientific and technical standpoint. For this purpose the line
of authority flowed from the director of OSRD, through the
chairman of NDRC, to the divisions, and members of these di­
visions became the authorized representatives of the office in
the guidance of the contractors in their scientific and technical
research, in order that their efforts could be directed along the
lines that had been approved by NDRC as best adapted to the
needs of the services. In this way also adequate reports of

Research and the War Effort


progress were made available promptly to the interested parties
in the Services.
Since OSRD was concerned with many broad aspects of the
relationship between the military Services and the civilian or­
ganizations, the director of OSRD also had the benefit of an
advisory council representative of many points of view. The
council comprised: Harvey H. Bundy, special assistant to the
Secretary of War; Rear Admiral J. A. Furer, co-ordinator of
research and development of the Navy; Dr. James B. Conant,
representing NDRC; Dr. A. Newton Richards, chairman of
the Committee on Medical Research; and Dr. J. C. Hunsaker,
chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
It also included in its discussions Dr. Harvey N. Davis, di­
rector of the Office of Production Research and Development
of the War Production Board. By special direction of the
President, the director of OSRD also had the benefit of the ad­
vice of the president of the National Academy of Sciences,
who joined in many council deliberations. The work of all of
these organizations will be discussed later, for their interrela­
tion in the technical phases of the war effort is of much im­
To continue, however, with the actual functioning of OSRD,
I wish to mention several other phases of its activities and some
of the problems that it faced. The business affairs, concerned
with contracts and the like, were handled by the executive sec­
retary of OSRD, Dr. Irvin Stewart, who also conducted rela­
tions with other governmental agencies on financial and legal
It was a task of no small magnitude so to fit OSRD into the
framework of government that it could operate in a smooth
and effective fashion. Throughout its existence, the agency
was a part of the Office for Emergency Management, which
was in the executive office of the President. OSRD attempted,
and I believe with extraordinary success, to carry on its affairs
strictly within the framework as laid down by Congress, and
in accordance with the regulations for the conduct of govern-




Endless Horizons

ment business with which these various agencies were charged.
Throughout the rapid growth of OSRD it had exceedingly
effective support from all of the agencies with which it neces­
sarily came into contact, notably with the Bureau of the Budget,
the General Accounting Office, the Civil Service Commission,
and many other groups with which it was concerned as an inde­
pendent agency within the executive office of the President. It
is a pleasure to report that throughout my experience as the
head of a new and vigorous government agency, I never met
with anything but the most helpful attitude on the part of the
agencies with which I was called upon to deal, and with the
committees of Congress that had to do with the affairs of
OSRD. This was in no small degree due to the excellent sup­
port of the executive secretary of the agency.
OSRD included also a liaison office, responsible to the direc­
tor and charged primarily with the duty of conducting appro­
priate technical interchange with the allies of the United States.
Under specific instructions from the President, there was insti­
tuted very early a close interchange with the British on tech­
nical matters and this relationship continued in a cordial and
effective manner. I feel sure that this interchange expedited
the work of scientists and technical men in England in their
magnificent efforts for the protection of the British Isles, and
I am sure that it benefited the United States in its war effort.
The liaison office served the London mission of OSRD through
which there were contacts with the British Government at all
The close interrelationship of science and engineering is es­
sential in the early aspects of the development of a new weap­
on. Accordingly, the divisions of NDRC were made up of
men chosen from both fields, working closely in collaboration.
Incidentally, these men were selected both from universities
and from industry, from large colleges and small colleges and
from private laboratories, and they were drawn from all over
the country. Many of them served without remuneration on a
part-time basis; others were on the government payroll while

Research and the War Effort


on leave of absence from their organizations. They served in
every case, of course, as individuals, and they were chosen for
their individual qualifications.
In the introduction of a war weapon into use there is a spe­
cial problem which is unique and which is not encountered in
the same form by industry in the course of its development of
new devices. During the course of the introduction of a new
weapon it passed from the hands of OSRD directly into the
hands of the armed services. OSRD was charged with the
research and development, but it was not charged with procure­
ment and use, which were in the hands of the armed services
themselves. Needless to say, the armed services themselves
directly and through contract carried on a great deal of research
and development, and many of their new devices came through
their own channels. This I will mention again later. However,
at this point I wish to trace the handling of the problem which
occurred by reason of the transition of devices from the labora­
tory into the hands of the military. In order to coordinate
this aspect of its work, NDRC maintained two special pieces of
organization. One was an engineering panel, made up of engi­
neers who were at the same time members of the various divi­
sions, together with certain other engineers chosen for their
over-all grasp. This panel was charged with the duty of seeing
to it that appropriate engineering skill was made available to
the divisions and sections in an effective way at such time as a
new device approached the period in its development where it
began to be adopted for actual production and use.
The other special piece of organization was the so-called
transition office, which was charged with the responsibility of
following the progress of devices, in order to make certain that
the problem of scarce and strategic materials was considered in
sufficient time. The transition office also arranged with the
armed services for initial production in order to carry the de­
vice through the transitional phase, in which it emerged from
the laboratory but did not appear in quantity. At this point
there was usually involved the production of a sufficient num-



Endless Horizons

ber of pieces of equipment, often produced by hand methods,
for purposes of extended tests in the field. There were in­
volved also the selection and indoctrination of an appropriate

In order to appreciate the way in which OSRD operated, it
is necessary to realize that practically everything it did was
highly secret. Inevitably, it was not possible to carry on work
under conditions of great secrecy with the same dispatch which
is possible when no such conditions obtain. For reasons of se­
curity, appointment of personnel in any capacity throughout the
organization was made only after careful investigation. A
ruling principle, and one which was observed by the Army and
the Navy, was that secret matters were to be held carefully in
compartments. This meant that no member of the organiza­
tion could learn of secret matters except to the extent that was
necessary for his appropriate functioning in the particular posi­
tion which he occupied in the organization. Knowledge con­
cerning especially secret matters was restricted to decidedly
small groups within OSRD and within the Services themselves.
This leads me to mention one other matter. Throughout
OSRD’s existence, I encountered many times the question as
to why it had to be organized on a national and vertical basis
in accordance with subject matter, and why it could not be de­
centralized geographically to obtain the benefit of the many
individuals in the country who were highly capable in technical
ways, but who necessarily had to operate in their own locali­
ties. The necessity for secrecy and compartmentalization was
the reason. In many cities, it would have been quite possible
to form very strong technical and scientific groups locally, com­
posed of men able to put in part of their time, in the evenings
and on week ends, on technical matters connected with the war.
These groups could represent many sciences and many types of
engineering, and they would have been made up of decidedly
effective individuals. How'ever, this scheme was not compati-

Research and the War Effort


ble with tight restrictions on the work of OSRD. It would
hardly have been possible to assign one subject to each group
in a locality. Neither would it have been possible to give to
such a group the knowledge of the entire range of the develop­
ment of weapons which would be essential in order to use ef­
fectively the diverse characteristics such a group would have.
Hence we reluctantly felt that such groups could not be util­
ized in the affairs of OSRD. However, they could have real
value in other connections not involving stringent conditions of
On the other hand, while OSRD was organized nationally,
drawing its membership from all over the country, its sections
were made up of men especially adapted for the problems be­
fore them and these men were given full knowledge of the
technical and tactical phases of the particular weapons with
which they dealt. They were kept closely in touch with the
progress made in introducing certain weapons in practice, and
they formed teams which were able to enlist the services of
large numbers of men in many universities and industries for
the accomplishment of their purposes. All this was done in
such a manner as to keep secret information as closely confined
as was consistent with rapid progress.
As previously mentioned, not all of the research and devel­
opment on weapons in this country was carried on by OSRD.
It was the duty of OSRD to relieve the Armed Services as far
as possible in this regard, and indeed as the war proceeded and
as the officers in the Services became more and more burdened
with immediate matters concerning the conduct of the war, the
load in regard to research and development shifted so that
OSRD gradually carried a greater share of the burden. How­
ever, it should be noted that both Armed Services maintain
large laboratories in peace and in war for the development of
weapons, and they also further development by direct contract
with industry.
The mention of this point gives me an opportunity to dis­
cuss a matter about which there is—and was—a great deal of



Endless Horizons

misunderstanding. It has been publicly known for a long time
now that when Germany started its all-out air attack on Britain
in the summer of 1940, the attack was repelled not only on
account of the magnificent equipment and fighting qualities of
the Royal Air Force, but also because the British had and
effectively used radar as a means of taking the surprise out of
the Germans’ attacks and assuring that their bombers were
promptly met by fighter squadrons. It is also known that the
British had this device because of the effective work of a group
of British scientists and engineers over a considerable period of
time. I am also very glad to be able to state that at the same
time the Army and Navy of the United States had equally
effective devices for this purpose, well developed and in hand.
This had been accomplished during years of peace, in spite of
the fact that the United States had failed to support its military
departments to an extent which rendered research and devel­
opment in peacetime possible on anywhere near an adequate
scale. In particular, I know personally of the early work in this
field by a small group of keen naval officers, and there were
undoubtedly other groups at work elsewhere. I also wish to
emphasize strongly that this work was done long before Europe
went to war, still longer before there was any such thing as
NDRC. Work along the same lines was, of course, pursued
by NDRC in the course of its existence. In so doing, it was
proud to collaborate with the Army and Navy and to work in
partnership for the further development of devices on which
they had already pioneered, and to share in all of the various
possibilities flowing out of that early work.

This leads me to a matter that I have pondered for some
time. I am occasionally met by the old accusation that mili­
tary men are hidebound and reactionary and that they are gen­
erally resistant to the introduction of new ideas. As applied to
the wartime Army of the United States, such a statement is of
course absurd on its face, since 24 out of 25 officers came direct­

Research and the War Effort


ly from civilian life. The community of our officers during the
war was essentially a cross section of the general public. How­
ever, the statement has usually been made with respect to the
Army and Navy men who have made military matters their
In the course of my duties as the head of OSRD, I worked
very closely indeed with a large number of Army and Navy
officers. Prior to that time I had had long association with
engineers in the United States, with college faculties, and with
businessmen. In every one of these groups, I have met indi­
viduals whose receptivity to new ideas was absolutely zero. I
shall not single out any particular group for comment, but in
every one of the great sections of our population I have been
struck at times by an unwillingness to recognize the changing
nature of the technical world to an extent that annoyed me ex­
ceedingly. I have seen it among college teachers and in groups
of engineers, and I have certainly seen it among businessmen.
I have also seen the same thing among military officers.
However, I can say categorically—and I think I am in a po­
sition to know—that the men who lead the Army and Navy of
the United States are no less open to new ideas than is the gen­
eral public of the United States. And if we as a country are
over conservative and disinclined to try new things, then I do
not know what the words mean. True, officers who have seen
long service are hard-boiled. They have a keen appreciation
of what will and will not work—at sea under difficult condi­
tions and various types of weather, on land in the dust and mud
of battle. They are intensely practical and exceedingly busy
men, but they are not reactionary. In five years of close asso­
ciation with them in the development of new weapons, I did not
see an instance in which an idea or a device which had come to
the attention of OSRD and which in my opinion had outstand­
ing merit was turned down arbitrarily and blocked permanently
by any military officer or any group of officers.
The merit of new ideas has to be proved. Ideas have to go
through their growing periods and meet their stresses. This



Endless Horizons

has to occur in business in time of peace and in military affairs
in time of war, but the atmosphere is no more hostile in one
case than it is in the other.

But to return to civilian organizations, there were several
aspects of the development of new weapons which very defi­
nitely did not come under the control of OSRD, although our
council functioned in an advisory capacity in order to provide a
unitary approach to problems of common interest and to pre­
vent overlapping and duplication.

Notable in this connection was the National Advisory Com­
mittee for Aeronautics. Founded by Congress in 1915, it has
a long and significant record of accomplishment. Since the
problems of flight were being attacked adequately by the
NACA, they were not again attacked by NDRC, although the
latter often carried on work on military devices which became
incorporated in airplanes. It is a fortunate thing for the
United States that it has had for many years the benefit of the
active research of the NACA in the field of aeronautics, carried
on in close collaboration with the Army and Navy and with
industry. Early in the war there was a great deal of discus­
sion as to whether American airplanes were comparable with
those of the enemy. When the records began coming in from
England, Africa, and the South Pacific, this discussion was
quickly resolved. Because of the interaction of many factors,
but particularly because of the fact that we have long had the
NACA as an active independent research organization working
on a basis of excellent interchange with the Army and Navy
and supplying the fundamental basis for the advanced design of
aircraft, this country has not lagged behind in air power.

The wartime ideas that finally became incorporated in new
military devices originated in a great variety of ways. Many

Research and the War Effort


of them came directly from officers of the armed services—
this was increasingly true as our combat men called attention
to their needs and opportunities. Some ideas came from the
scientific and military groups assembled as sections of NDRC,
as a result of conferences and discussions. A large number
were submitted by the general public. However, the percent­
age of valuable suggestions coming in spontaneously from the
lay public was necessarily small, all things considered, and re­
quired a great deal of review. This review was provided by
the National Inventors Council, located in the Department of
Commerce. There are one or two points in regard to the work
of the NIC which I should like to discuss.
It should be emphasized that the NIC was the official review­
ing agency and that its function was fully performed when it
brought a valuable suggestion to the appropriate attention in
the armed services. At the same time it is essential to empha­
size that OSRD did not have the duty of reviewing suggestions
submitted by the general public. When the armed services
found that an idea warranted development, they sometimes
turned to OSRD in order to have such development performed.
But while research and development were the main functions
of OSRD—and it attempted to stay strictly within those bounds
—those sections that were making plans for the development
of new weapons received many ideas from their immediate per­
sonnel, from engineers and scientific men working with contrac­
tors who were carrying out research under the supervision of
the section, from the officers and men of the armed services,
and through the armed services from the Inventors Council.
Unfortunately, the independent inventor was at a very con­
siderable disadvantage when it came to the matter of making
valuable suggestions in connection with military devices. In the
nature of things, he could not be told the entire state of the art
to which he was attempting to contribute, so that he worked
very largely in the dark. This was unfortunate, for the same
reasoning was unduly gone through over and over, but it was
inevitable in view of the necessity for security. When a man



Endless Horizons

who had put considerable effort on the development of an idea
finally submitted it, he naturally wanted to know whether his
idea was new, whether it was considered valuable, and, espe­
cially, if it was being used. Yet in general he could not be
told. Indeed, he remained completely in the dark unless he
occupied a position in which he was entitled to secret and confi­
dential information in the field of his inquiry. If this principle
had not been strictly adhered to, the enemy might have found
out a great deal by simply putting in suggestions and thus learn­
ing the general state of the art and the status of development of
various military weapons.
I mention this because I believe there has been a great deal
of misunderstanding on the matter. Many individuals were
distinctly annoyed because they were not told of the outcome of
review when they made suggestions. It is strange that this
situation was not more fully appreciated. To cite an interest­
ing example, a prominent magazine ran an article describing in
detail a military device which had been submitted to the armed
services. The article complained bitterly that no serious atten­
tion was paid to the suggestion. As a matter of fact, the inven­
tor in this particular instance had visited me personally and
described his device. At the time he described it to me, I
knew that a better device than the one he suggested was already
in use. This I could not tell him. Of course, if his suggestion
really had been new and highly valuable, the publication of it
with full details would have been of great service to the enemy.

There is another phase of the work of scientists and engi­
neers on developmental matters which also needs to be men­
tioned. There were broad problems of substitute and strategic
materials, and many technical questions involved in the re­
orientation of industry to the war effort. The development of
substitute materials and substitute processes was of great sig­
nificance as the war proceeded. The task of conducting research
and development along these lines was not within the scope of

Research and the War Effort


OSRD, the activities of which were directed to the develop­
ment of new weapons and their methods of utilization. On the
other hand, the War Production Board was deeply concerned
with these very matters. In some of its approaches to the
problems of materials it was strongly supported by the National
Research Council with scientific and technical advice. In No­
vember, 1942, WPB established an Office of Production Re­
search and Development under the able direction of Dr. Har­
vey N. Davis, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Many auxiliary problems arose in connection with the tech­
nical and scientific tasks resulting from the war and prominent
among these was the problem of trained personnel. Fortu­
nately, we were able to draw upon the assistance of the Roster
of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, directed by Dr. Leon­
ard Carmichael, president of Tufts College, during its busiest
years. The Roster and its Committee on Scientific Personnel
(Reserved List) rendered excellent service.

This review would be incomplete without mention of the
National Academy of Sciences and the National Research
The National Academy of Sciences was formed at the time
of the Civil War and operates under Congressional charter.
It is charged with the broad duty of advising agencies of gov­
ernment with regard to their scientific and technical problems.
Dr. Frank B. Jewett, president of the Academy, has recently
described in some detail the enormous burden which has been
carried by the Academy and Council in the performance of this
OSRD leaned on the Academy and Council for scientific
and technical advice on many matters. Notably in the medical
and metallurgical fields, the organization of NRC provided



Endless Horizons

committees of eminent men who advised continuously and ef­
fectively on programs in these fields.
To one who did not work closely with the governmental or­
ganization for the conduct of research and development in the
war, this rapid survey may seem to indicate a great deal of
complexity. It is true that it was complicated, but research and
development are themselves necessarily complex. However,
the various aspects of the over-all problem were provided for
adequately by the organizations that operated in the field and
these were tied together as closely as necessary for cooperation
by the council of OSRD.

But what of results? In wartime the work of the laboratory
is meaningless unless it finds its way into the field of action.
One of the most gratifying expressions of the success of scien­
tific effort in the war is to be found in the attitudes of the
Armed Services. Both Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox indicated their satisfaction
over what joint efforts had accomplished in terms of operations.
When the story can be told in full, it will be dramatic, and it
will reflect the vigorous efforts of a great group of men, em­
ploying the best of teamwork in the common cause. It will
show without any doubt that the devices developed by Ameri­
can scientists and engineers played an important part in bring­
ing the war to successful conclusion in a shorter time than might
otherwise have been the case.

When I first read of surrendered U-boats proceeding into
Allied ports, my mind turned back to 1942 when it was nip
and tuck, and the question of whether we could maintain our
contact with the United Kingdom, and gradually build up
there our forces of attack, revolved about the outcome of a
technical race between the U-boat and our means of combating it. I he outcome depended very largely on whether there
should arrive first on the scene, an increasing U-boat fleet with
new devices for eluding attack, remaining submerged for long
periods, and with new means of attacking the escorts of con­
voys; or an enlarged fleet of anti-submarine carriers, long range
aircraft, and surface craft for combating them, with means of
finding U-boats in the broad ranges of the Atlantic, pursuing
them relentlessly whether they remained on the surface or sub­
merged, and attacking and destroying them by powerful meth­
ods that could fully overcome their potent ability to fight back.
The outcome was quite conclusive and can be simply sum­
marized. The anti-U-boat means and devices arrived first, and
the sinkings went down rapidly during the spring of 1943, and
were held down by persistence and vigilance to the end. The
expected enemy devices also appeared, but too late. The
courage, endurance, and sacrifice of the British and Americans
on the sea and in the air, armed with the best that science and
technology could provide, won a great campaign, one of sev­
eral, all of which had to be won if our civilization was to
The other side of the record was impressed on me when I
read the accounts of the furious struggles on Okinawa, Iwo
Jima, and other Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. By rea­




Endless Horizons

son of far better implements of war, far better skill in their
use, and masterly strategy and tactics we successfully assaulted
the strongest outposts of the Japanese Empire. In spite of most
formidable fortifications and Nipponese fanaticism expressed
especially in the use of suicide bombers operating from their
home bases, we progressed on such a basis that our total cas­
ualties—on land, at sea, and in the air—were far less than the
number of the enemy that we had to kill in overcoming their
desperate resistance. Our losses were grievous, but the magni­
tude of the accomplishment is hardly yet realized by the peo­
ple of this country.
The struggles did not end on the battlefield. Tens of thou­
sands of American boys were wounded and the effort continued
far into the rear areas and the bases, to save life and restore
function. The record of the second aspect of the applica­
tion of science to warfare is magnificent. Medical aid, with
the most advanced methods, was available the moment a
wounded man dropped. Of the seriously wounded that ar­
rived at base hospitals only a few indeed finally succumbed.
These base hospitals were often located in tropical areas that
were once disease-ridden and had been largely freed from this
scourge. Penicillin, blood plasma, sulphonamides, DDT, atabrine, new treatments of burns, advanced surgery, combined
with superb organization and rare devotion to duty to bring
to bear every aid that science could offer to heal those who
carried the fight directly to the enemy, for us all.
But I cannot recount in detail all of these things. They
should be told in due time by those who have directly partici­
pated in their accomplishment. I can, however, point out one
or two threads that ran through the entire effort, and that
should never be lost sight of.
The conduct of this highly technical war produced a great
experience in teamwork and professional partnership. Under
the stress of war, and in the common interest, men always for­
get their minor differences, and sink their personal ambitions
and inclinations in the heat and intensity of a hazardous effort.

The Teamwork of Techmclans


But this has never occurred before, anywhere or during his­
tory, to the extent that it occurred this time in the manner in
which the United States conducted its enormous war effort all
over the world, and it will pay us well to inquire why and how
this occurred and what this may augur for the future.
I cannot provide a full analysis here; it will take the lapse
of time and the perspective of detachment fully to weigh the
factors that have influenced the trends. Moreover, we, who
have been close to the center, where military and civilian needs
become balanced, where over-complex organization creaks as it
tries to adapt, see far more than our share of the disagreements,
petty ambitions, and selfish grasping which are on the fringes.
The press still finds a story when two men disagree violently in
public, and no story when they work in harmony. Those in the
field or the laboratory can speak of the solid core on which these
minor flaws appear. Their testimony will be that, in spite
of all the frailties of human nature, in spite of inevitable cross
purposes, there has been a demonstration of collaboration on a
scale and to a degree such as has never been seen before. It has
been particularly striking in the scientific field.
Military men and scientists arrived at a basis of professional
partnership which was extraordinary. Scientists and engineers
pulled in the same harness; in fact many scientists became engi­
neers and some engineers became scientists in the process. Sci­
entists from universities and those from commercial laboratories
were indistinguishable. Industrialists, government representa­
tives, officers of the Services argued volubly, as red blooded
men should, but they pulled in the same direction in the end,
and admirable accomplishments were made.
Moreover, the relations between American scientists and
those of the British Commonwealth of Nations were just as
effective as those within this country, and this is important.
Neither group was perfect, of course, but there was just about
as much lack of real friction in joint undertakings as in those
of a single nationality.
The scientists of this country await the time when they can



Endless Horizons

pay full tribute to the spirit and accomplishments of the sci­
entists of the United Kingdom. They started earlier than we,
and had the longer stress. They often worked under limita­
tion due to shortages of material, and they were bombed. In
the early days of the war their vision, and the wise utilization
of their efforts in radar and in fighter aircraft, enabled the few
to turn back the utmost effort of the Luftwaffe, to save Britain
and hence ourselves, and to earn the eternal gratitude of the
many. In later years American and British scientists worked so
closely together that it will be utterly impossible, and a matter
of no vital interest, to attempt to assign many explicit accom­
plishments to one or the other. In this country we greatly
admire British scientists, not only for their eminence in their
fields, but for their human qualities. We are proud to have
collaborated with them in our joint effort, and we trust that
the ties that have been formed will never lessen in strength as
we turn toward the advancement of science for the good of hu­
manity in a peaceful world.
I was with Churchill when news from Italy came in, and
when General Eisenhower pointed out in his dispatches the
great obstacles that had confronted British troops, to offset
some of the comparisons of progress that were unfortunately
appearing at the time. The Prime Minister quoted these dis­
patches and said “it warms the cockles of my heart.” So too in
viewing the interchange and the community of scientific effort
on the two sides of the Atlantic, our hearts in this country are
warmed, and we look to the future with confidence that the
underlying spirit will endure.
But back of this phenomenon, back of all the team work,
must lie some great and important causes. I think I have
found at least part of the answer, why the two great democ­
racies have given such a heartening exemplification of'team­
work, and have thus produced great results.
Recently I have been reviewing the progress of the German
scientific and technical effort during the war. The account is
still fragmentary, and a great part of it remains confidential,

The Teamwork of Technicians


but certain patterns and relations begin to emerge. I have al­
ready come to very definite conclusions in my own mind. They
are striking, and I believe they will be fully borne out when
the full history is written.
If a modern scientific war must be fought, the most effective
way in which to fight it is under the temporary rigid controls
which a continuing democracy voluntarily imposes upon itself
as it girds itself for combat. Such a regime, all other things
being equal, can outclass any despotism in bringing to bear on
the struggle the combined efforts of science, industry, and mili­
tary might.
A democracy is efficient in emergency, for the free spirit
which it engenders in its normal course is an essential ingredi­
ent of great accomplishment under stress. The old contention
that only totalitarianism can cope with the complexities of mod­
ern life is a fallacy.
De Tocqueville’s assertion that the democratic state is less ef­
fective than a despotism in a short war, and more effective in a
long war, needs to be supplemented under modern conditions
of scientific combat. Total complex warfare so emphasizes the
advantages of the voluntary collaboration of free men that the
democracy will excel in any war, long or short, unless indeed
it is so short sighted as to be caught utterly unprepared.
I present these assertions with the conviction that they will
ultimately become fully documented and accepted and with the
belief that the full appreciation of them is of the first impor­
tance in the years ahead. I might go on and state that democ­
racy is the most efficient form even in days of peace with no
emergency in the offing, for I believe it, and I hope this too
can be demonstrated; but this last point may be academic, for
we shall live under the shadow of possible emergency of some
sort or other for many years to come.
Germany started her war effort many years before the world
became properly alerted to the threat, and it began the develop­
ment of such things as V-bombs many years before we were
similarly at work. In certain areas to which great effort was



Endless Horizons

directed, or in which the Germans had natural aptitude, the
technical progress of Germany was great, and at times it even
led us in techniques. But these were isolated and relatively
unimportant instances. In substantially every important area
of the scientific and technical war effort the enemy was out­
classed by the great democracies.
The reason? There are many reasons of course. In the lat­
ter part of the war the enemy’s effort was disrupted by stra­
tegic bombing, fortunately for our interests. Slave labor is not
efficient labor. But another reason appears to me fundamental.
Germany never established partnership, or anything remotely
approaching it, between her military men and her scientists. It
never brought its scientists, engineers, and industrialists into the
common effort with genuine teamwork. Its decisions, on sci­
entific programs, were made in the pattern of all despotic de­
cisions, without the free play and give and take of independent
minds, guided by the scientific truth and not by personal fears
or ambitions. It badly fumbled the effort at every point. Con­
sidering the basis on which that effort was built, one could
hardly expect that it would do otherwise.
The German failure was due to many great causes. Its
comparative failure in the scientific field was due in no small
degree to the fact that true scientific progress, and its effective
utilization, prosper well only in the atmosphere of untram­
meled scientific freedom. This is only a small part of the
great truth that man reaches his peak of accomplishment of
mind and intellect only when he is free, but it is an important
point, with many practical implications.
With all its enormous advantage of sudden attack upon its
peaceloving neighbors, with all its totalitarian regimentation
of an entire people for a decade to preparation for the assault,
Germany failed. On the scientific front it produced some spec­
tacular and deadly weapons, but it failed in the long arduous
race with the great democracies as these applied their scientific
accumulations and abilities to their defense. It failed because
the atmosphere of freedom is favorable to that collaboration

The Teamwork of Technicians


of men of diverse talents which is essential to the effective
prosecution of highly complex undertakings. It failed be­
cause democracy is the more efficient form; because, when it
girds itself for war, it combines the rigid controls which are
then essential with the spirit of freedom which it carries over
into the emergency. It failed because the regularity and lack
of confusion which are the pride of totalitarians are far ex­
ceeded in importance in the modern complex world by the ef­
fectiveness, by the efficiency, of the untrammeled spirit which
develops fully only under freedom.


Here I wish to trace briefly the relationship of engineering
to the other professions, the professional traditions which engi­
neers inherit, and the outlook for the engineering profession in
view of its unique relationship to society. I plan to review the
history of professions very sketchily; but through this history
runs a thread to which I wish especially to direct attention.
We can start far back, but not tarry long in our review. In
every primitive tribe there was some sort of medicine man.
He was a man apart, the adviser of the clan rather than its
titular leader. He spoke, in his field, with authority, and this
rested upon a special knowledge which he was supposed to pos­
sess. The medicine man was the progenitor of the professional
man of today.
His closest modern counterpart is the scientist. The scientist
and the medicine man have much in common. Tribal regalias
and feathers have undergone metamorphosis and reappear in
cabalistic titles and letters surrounding names. The queer
jargon of the cult has changed in nature but preserved its hyp­
notic effect. Solemn pronouncements about the unknowable
still catch the ear of the multitude. The claim to a favored
position in society is still based on the occasional ability to un­
screw the inscrutable. In fact, one difficulty that faces the
scientist is that he may be mistaken for a medicine man, able
at will to produce rabbits from hats, instead of the careful,
hard-working, human individual he really is.
The descent of the engineer from the medicine man has been
highly involved j and it will clarify some obscure relationships
if we trace part of it, for there is a central thread which runs
through the tale.

The Qualities of a Profession


The medicine man, and the member of the pagan priesthood
which succeeded him, was characterized by numerous attributes.
He had a strict code of conduct. He trained neophytes, sub­
jected them to a long period of apprenticeship, initiated them
into the mysteries, and inculcated in them pride in the cult, and
rigid discipline in its formulas. He severely restricted his
numbers, by intellectual hurdles to be surmounted. He spoke
a special language. He sat as adviser in councils of the mighty.
But, more essential than all of these, he ministered to the
This was the first professional group, and all others have
derived from it. Not every attribute has been maintained as
new professions have emerged; but to a surprising extent their
counterparts can still be found. In every one of the profes­
sional groups, however, will be found the initial central theme
intact—they minister to the people. Otherwise they no longer
endure as professional groups.
Ministry needs definition for our purposes. The alteration
of word meanings with new usages is such that it is only too
easy to be misunderstood. Ministry is not service, and we
have so completely altered the essential significance of the lat­
ter word that it may have utterly different connotations to dif­
ferent hearers. Ministry carries with it the ideas of dignity
and authority j it connotes no weakness, and offers no apology.
The word has been carried into diplomatic usage; and in the
derived form of administer into law and business. There is no
fog of subservience surrounding the concept. The physician
who ministers to his client takes charge by right of superior
specialized knowledge of a highly personal aspect of the affairs
of the individual. The attorney assumes professional responsi­
bility for guiding the legal acts of his client, and speaks with
the whole authority of the statutes as a background. It is in
this higher sense that we trace the thread of ministry to the
This is the fuel which has kept alight through many ages the
professional spirit. Every time that the fuel has become ex­



Endless Horizons

hausted, the light has gone out. It has not mattered how much
was retained of trappings and mysticism, nor what the pro­
fundity of utterances, there has been no true profession that
has not with dignity and authority advised and counseled the
people, that has not guarded the commonweal. For a true pro­
fession exists only as the people allow it to maintain its preroga­
tives by reason of confidence in its integrity and belief in its
general beneficence.
The monastic orders, under divers religions, springing up
as outgrowths of the simpler systems of priestcraft, have exem­
plified the theme in two ways. Some have preserved, adorned,
and extended the knowledge of their time and place. These
have their modern counterparts in the scientific and learned
groups, the custodians of our culture, and the source from
which flows new knowledge for the use of man. Other orders
carried to great heights the direct ministry to those in misfor­
tune or distress—often at great self-sacrifice, as did the early
Jesuits among the Indians of our west. Both forms have re­
mained high in the esteem of the people and have endured.
Occasional groups have lost the thread, and have, for example,
become militant orders devoted to self-aggrandizement} and
these have disappeared.

Out of the early priesthood came also the teaching orders,
whose ministry took the form of instruction of the young, and
this aspect of professional activity is represented today by the
great profession of teachers everywhere. This group has little
indeed of the trappings of the medicine man, it has no single
closely knit aggressive society representing it} its language is
becoming complicated but is still fairly intelligible to the lay­
man. Where it has maintained its ideals it is honored and
respected. Great teachers do not find riches heaped upon them,
they do not become affluent. Great teachers have no interest
in riches. In the great teacher the parental instinct, which is
so often at the basis of senseless extremes of individual striving

The Qualities of a Profession


for wealth, becomes sublimated into a broad love of youth
which calls for neither wealth nor power for its enjoyment and

A very early offshoot was the profession of medicine, for min­
istry to the ill was a primitive need. It has had a long and
distinguished history. Utilizing the fruits of science it is today
in full tide of accomplishment for the benefit of mankind. It
has had vast power and influence. Yet, today, in the United
States, it is at a turn of the road, and its most thoughtful mem­
bers are giving earnest consideration to its future. There is
serious danger that its light may fail, and its heritage of ideal­
ism may be lost.
The profession of medicine, by reason of its very nature,
has preserved many of the attributes of the ancient forms. It
selects its neophytes by rigorous intellectual elimination, trains
them over many years, and seeks to endow them with the
philosophy of their profession. It severely restricts its own
numbers, perhaps too severely in view of the task before it. It
preserves itself apart, by special language, and has a unique
code of conduct. It has sat in the councils of government and
advised. By the will of the people it has been given special
privileges and prerogatives for use in pursuit of its objectives.
It is highly organized.
Through long ages it has held well to its ideal of simple
ministry to the people, and has disciplined under its codes those
who would use its special privileges for other ends. It has
guarded the people against their own folly, and has been prop­
erly militant in maintenance of its sphere of the public weak
Its individual members are in general respected* in their own
communities to an extraordinary degree.
Yet, in these days when all institutions are undergoing
scrutiny, when our population in fear and distress is prone to
be critical, there is evidence about us that the profession, as a
profession, does not command that full support of the people



Endless Horizons

of the country without which it cannot continue on the path.
Yet as one looks about in the medical profession signs are seen
of a resurgence of idealism, a re-emphasis on the simple mission
of healing, and a recognition of the central theme of ministry
to the people. This I am convinced is the true motive of the
great majority of the members of this grand profession. Yet
there is much suspicion in the public mind that aggrandizement,
utilization of power for the professional advancement of the
membership, the guild spirit in its cruder form, are rampant. I
second the thought of many eminent members of the profession
itself that unless this suspicion is allayed by a revival of simple
ideals, the profession will suffer, and the people will suffer
enormously with it. It is well that engineers should be deeply
interested in the outcome, for medicine is a very ancient pro­
fession from which we have much to learn.

To treat the origins of the profession of law, its codes and
countercurrents, would require an article in itself. Here is a
field in which the preservation of the true philosophy of a pro­
fession is intricate indeed. Endowed with special privilege
under the law, it largely regulates its own conduct. Never
quite successful in the recruiting, training, and indoctrination
of its neophytes, its maintenance of adherence to a high code
of conduct is rendered more difficult. Counseling with govern­
ment and, by the nature of its mission, participating directly
therein, it has great power for good or evil. It certainly strives,
as an organized profession, for the public welfare; but its zeal
in this regard is not always such as to cause it to disregard the
special welfare of its own group; and the two, withal, are
sometimes hard to disentangle. It ministers to those in legal
distress with great effectiveness; but the distressed often appear
in pairs. It is hardly judged as a whole by the public. * Certain
it is, however, that those of its membership, on the bench or at
the bar, who have risen to the highest positions in their devo­
tion to professional ideals, are respected and honored by the

The Qualities of a Profession


public. Certain it is also, that, should this respect falter, we as
a democracy would soon be in a sorry state.

But our principal concern here is the engineering profession,
and we inquire, what is the engineering profession j is it a pro­
fession at all ^ and if it is, will it develop into the full stature
to which the importance of its works entitles it to aspire?
It is relatively young. The military engineer appeared in
the first steps of the mechanization of warfare, when forts be­
gan to take shape. His counterpart in peaceful affairs was
called a civil engineer. With the industrial revolution, and
especially with the spread of mechanization from the factory
into every walk of life, engineering became exceedingly diversi­
fied. Applying science in an economic manner to the needs of
mankind is its broad field. Its disciplines are spread over all
the sciences as they become thus applied, and embrace also
portions of economics, law, and business practice which are
integral parts of the process of application. It is somewhat
loosely organized as professions go. To a minor extent only,
it limits its numbers j but the very strictness of its essential disci­
plines provides some selection of its neophytes. Until recently
it has done very little in an organized fashion to inculcate in
its younger members the philosophy of the profession, leaving
this largely to those of its individuals who are also members of
the teaching profession. That branch which represents the con­
sultant, and others to a degree, has drawn codes j but there is
no body of codified principles which is accepted and applied by
the profession as a whole. It has no highly distinct language
or jargon, for it must continuously work with laymen.
These are, however, incidentals. The important point is this:
Does it have a central theme of ministering to the people?
Most certainly it serves the public in myriad ways, but are its
individual members activated primarily by the professional
spirit of dignified and authoritative counsel and guidance?



Endless Horizons

In order properly to inquire into this weighty question, we
need to digress a moment to consider another large group of
the population, the modern men of business who have derived
from the ancient traders and merchants. The merchant class
has not usually been a professional grouping in the true sense;
and engineering, which has derived its philosophy from this
source as well as from science, naturally partakes of the heri­
tage of both groups. Business has served the public, of course,
but its main theme has been the profit motive, a salutary objec­
tive when restricted by law to the use of ethical procedures in
its pursuit, but no: a professional objective.
One of the most encouraging signs of the times is the gradual
emergence in our day of the truly professional man of business.
Scattered, not organized, with no sign of professional trappings,
they are nonetheless possessed of a high mission, which needs
only formulation and recognition in order that they may con­
stitute a new and strong profession. This is occurring for one
reason because of a gradual change in corporate form. The
owner-manager was activated by the profit motive, and no
amount of paternalism could wholly alter his position in the
social scheme. Even with corporations, the ownership of which
is widely scattered, the manager is ordinarily controlled by and
primarily responsible to a few powerful owners, so that he in
essence still represents the interest of the owners in his relations
with the three bodies with which he deals: the government, the
employees, and the consuming public. It is his difficult task to
reap for the owners’ benefit the fruits of his industrial opera­
tion, while maintaining at least tolerance on the part of the
other bodies. But there are some corporations in which owner­
ship is so diffused that the management becomes in effect a
self-perpetuating entity, partaking therefore of the nature of a
trusteeship, with equally weighed obligations and responsibili­
ties to all four bodies: owners, employees, government, and
consumers. Among such managing groups will be found indi­

The Qualities of a Profession


viduals who have the professional philosophy in high degree,
conducting their affairs for the just and equitable benefit of all
four groups concerned, maintaining the health and progress of
their institutions as potent agencies for ministration to the needs
of the people. They find common ground with the trustees of
great foundations, of hospitals, and all non-profit organizations
devoted to the public welfare. They find common ground
also with many of those who make a career of the business of
government. Their ranks are recruited by many in the ordi­
nary walks of business who have seen a light and envisioned a
function in life which is higher in its satisfactions than the
struggle of any body against any other j namely, a struggle with
all bodies to preserve an ideal. Out of this trend, as competi­
tion for industrial existence becomes tempered, should emerge
a new profession with its own traditions and beliefs, which is
capable of managing prosperity so that it will be conducive to
the health of a nation; and there is grave question whether this
objective can be attained in any other way. I wish there were
a special order of knighthood in this country to honor and unite
those who are now blazing the difficult path and developing the
novel philosophy of this new profession.
Engineering, however, derived jointly from the quiet clois­
ters of science and from the turmoil and strife of aggressive
business, and it is no wonder, therefore, that it should wobble
a bit as it seeks to evolve its own professional philosophy. Just
as it is not reasonable to expect the young neophyte to grasp at
once the idealism of his calling, so it is perhaps not reasonable
to expect a profession which is so young and which has grown
so fast to have found itself in this regard.

The period of initiation into any profession should extend
into maturity. Only when members reached the full bloom of
manhood did the ancient orders entrust the mysteries to their
care. The young neophyte served his apprenticeship under



Endless Horizons

constant tutelage and close guidance by mature minds, and this
we still find in every profession. As apprentice, as employee,
he is called upon to prove himself before he enters into that
relationship where his opinions are controlling in his special
field, and some there are who never emerge from close control
and the mere exercise of technical proficiency. In the engineer­
ing profession this emergence usually is circumscribed by the
fact that most engineers operate as members of industrial or­
ganizations of one sort and another, and the fact that they serve
their apprenticeship in this same sort of organization and come
to devote their entire efforts to its affairs, rather than to enter
them after professional recognition elsewhere, as is usually the
case with medical or legal individuals. This, however, merely
emphasizes the need for better supervision of the neophytes by
the members of the engineering profession who have arrived.
It is not enough to leave their training to the industrial organi­
zations of which they are junior members. Inculcation of the
principles of the profession can come only from those who
themselves have attained to a full grasp of its proper function
in society, who have arrived at a balanced judgment as to its
responsibility to the several groupings of which society is com­
posed, and who have a professional interest in the young men
who are destined to succeed them in the profession. Every pro­
fession should have its secrets and its mysteries spread before
the world that all may read, but truly grasped only by those
who have lived the professional life; and these should be trans­
mitted to the neophytes with due care, with reverence for their
inherent worth, and in due time. Ritual and symbolism, se­
crecy and circumspection, were the ancient paraphernalia which
insured a proper seriousness in youth in order that the impartation might be impressive. These have not wholly disappeared
from modern professions. Admission to the bar, the use of
the title of doctor, and similar customs and usages have pro­
found effect in producing a professional consciousness. The

The Qualities of a Profession


engineering profession is wholly without these aids, and its
task of inducting its neophytes into the true professional atmos­
phere is thus rendered doubly difficult.
But does it matter after all? Are the things that engineers
do so vital that they must needs be approached in the profes­
sional spirit? Most certainly it matters. And most certainly the
task is a professional one. The impact of science is making a
new world, and the engineer is in the forefront of the remak­
ing. He lights the way in a very literal sense. He brings peo­
ples close together for better or worse, by facile communica­
tion and rapid transportation. He guards the food supply, and
replaces the hopelessness of Malthus with an embarrassing
plenty. He shortens the hours of labor, and fills the consequent
leisure with distractions. He temporarily disrupts the tech­
niques of whole industries, and thus alters the life habits of
many people, in maintaining a continually rising standard of
living. He bores through the earth and under the sea, and
flies above the clouds. He builds great cities, and builds also
the means whereby they may be destroyed. Certainly there
was never a profession that more truly needed the professional
spirit, if the welfare of man is to be preserved.

There is no lack of signs of a rising consciousness in this re­
gard. The profession is most positively vocal. There is a
vigorous new organization, linking several large groups, de­
voting itself to the improvement of the education of the young
engineer, and the instillation of high principles during his early
career. Engineering literature is full of ^discussions of the
duties and responsibilities of the profession, and out of this may
crystallize some day a code, a set of principles of conduct, a
guide drawn solely with the object of advancing the public
weal, which will become accepted by engineers everywhere,
whether in government employ, private practice, or industrial
organization. Having, to some extent at least, consolidated



Endless Horizons

their techniques, engineers are certainly giving thought and
voice to their position in society, and to their responsibility for
the use of the great works which they create.
The focus of this whole affair is the American Engineering
Council. More than any other group it represents the engi­
neering profession as a whole, in its relationships with govern­
ment, other professions, and the public. Here, more than in
any other organization, reside the external as contrasted with
the internal relationships of the profession. It was founded by
men who considered its functions in terms of a high idealism.
It is now going through a strenuous period of self-examina­
tion. To this every individual can contribute only one set of
thoughts to be merged with all of those which seethe, and
interact, out of which will come in due time that consensus
which will form the opinions, traditions, codes, and conscious­
ness which will mold the engineering profession. It will come
unless the Council fails j for if it fails, and if its place is not
taken by a more rugged successor, there will be no unitary engi­
neering profession at all. In the spirit of adding my few
thoughts to those of the eminent men who are directing the
Council I have previously offered comments, and I now com­
ment again, with the expectation that I will be disagreed with
and answered, with the wish to add my mite to the consumma­
I find it a vigorous and rapidly evolving body. I consider it
to be utterly inadequately supported by the profession as a
whole, in comparison with the central bodies of sister profes­
sions, and with a serious problem as to how adequate support
can be drawn for the great task that lies ahead of it. I find it
partaking of the great American tendency toward overcompli­
cation, and inclined to attempt things which seem to me per­
sonally to be off the main beat. I find to my great joy that it is
gradually becoming known and recognized j and I trust this is
just a beginning. I find it guided by some of the best minds

The Qualities of a Profession


in the profession as its officers, who are giving valuable time to
its cause; and I hence cannot fail to be optimistic as to its future.
To me, however, there is just one point on which I wish to
focus attention. I find it struggling with its own philosophy.
I find, in fact, that it hesitates as it formulates its idealism; that
it has not yet placed its foot unequivocally and irrevocably upon
the path that leads to complete devotion to the public welfare.
I find that it has not yet enunciated its belief that the great
mission of the engineer lies in intelligent, aggressive, devoted
ministration to the people. This I urge with all the emphasis
I can command.

I do not seek to conjure away practical difficulties by ignor­
ing them. I know full well what restricted budgets mean. The
argument that the support of the membership can be obtained
only if they can see a direct and personal benefit from their con­
tributions has a familiar ring. I recognize that it is entirely
proper for professional men to join in an insistence upon a rea­
sonable and proper recognition of their services to society. Yet
if there is no central organization which has as its creed the best
service of the profession to the society of which it forms a part,
then there will be in the end no engineering profession. Pro­
fessional status rests in perpetuity, not on transient law, not on
the cruder machinations of the ancient guilds, not on exclusive
control of those having a specialized and necessary knowledge;
but upon the respect and fundamental support of the people
who are served, who only in the long run can insist upon the
maintenance of prerogatives, and confer hgnor, recognition,
and special privileges in society upon the members of a pro­
Will engineers support such a program? Will they contrib­
ute directly or through their specialized societies to the devel­
opment of this ideal, and its exemplification in Council projects
aimed at rendering real some aspect of the profession’s contri­



End less Horizons

bution to public welfare? Will they make possible great for­
ums for the crystallization of engineering opinion on public
questions involving engineering, not to attain an impossible
unanimity or produce high-sounding resolutions, but so that
all aspects of controversial matters may be aired in order that
people may know what engineers think? Will engineers go
along heartily in developing a professional consciousness, a code
of action, a philosophy which implements a desire to be a truly
professional group, oriented primarily toward the advancement
of the public health, safety, comfort, and progress? Will they
accept as the central theme the engineers’ ministration to so­
ciety, without fear of any class, and without prejudice toward
or away from any special social interests or causes?
If they will not, then there is no truly professional spirit to
build upon. We may as well resign ourselves to a gradual ab­
sorption as controlled employees, and to the disappearance of
our independence. We may as well conclude that wre are
merely one more group of the population, trained with a spe­
cial skill, maintaining our economic status by a continuing
struggle against the interests of other groups, forced in this
direction and that by the conflict between the great forces of a
civilized community, with no higher ideals than to serve as
directed, and with no greater satisfaction than the securing of
an adequate income as one member in the struggle for the
profits of an industrial age.
But I know the minds of too many engineers to be thus
pessimistic. I recognize the distinguished careers of a gen­
eration of men who have practiced in the profession to its credit
and honor. Though the task be difficult, on account of the na­
ture of many of our relationships to society, nevertheless tradi­
tions are being formed, the consciousness of the membership is
becoming aroused, and I confidently expect the profession of
engineering to develop in a manner of which we can be justi­
fiably proud.
And to those in the ranks who may not have yet seen the
light, I would preach the doctrine, without pulling any

The Qualities of a Profession


punches, without mincing any words, that the path of profes­
sional attainment lies open before them, that it is a thorny path
that is easily lost sight of among the rocks and rubbish, that it
can be adhered to only by sacrifice and by support of those who
lead the way, that it is a long path which leads down into the
valley into which the sun does not shine, but that it leads at
last to the heights—to the heights of true professional attain­
ment, where honor and individual recognition by fellows is the
real reward, and where the watchword is that old, old theme,
which has never lost its power, and which may yet save a sorry
world, simple ministration to the people.


Thomas A. Edison exemplified an important aspect of Amer­
ican life. He combined, in superlative degree, resourcefulness
and initiative with an intense practicality and a keen vision.
The many results which he attained during his life were the
blossoming of this combination of talent in an environment
which was wonderfully adapted for such a growth.
I do not need to say that these are not the only characteristics
that are needed in scientific and engineering endeavor. The
list of Edison medalists is itself a demonstration of the recogni­
tion of the need for combining such qualities with scientific
deduction, mathematical analysis, and the like, in order that
there may be a rounded whole. Our great industrial advance,
with its intense use of electric power and its intricate mechani­
zation, has arisen by reason of the efforts of many types of
mind. But without the important phase that Edison so notably
exemplified the scene would indeed be a drab one.
The United States has prospered in a material way. It has
attained a standard of living far beyond that arrived at in any
other country. This is not entirely explained simply by the
presence of great resources, or a large and uniform market, or
even by the opportunities for pioneering that are summarized
in the convenient term “the frontier.” Neither does the oppor­
tunity for advancement necessarily vanish when the geographi­
cal frontier gives place to one that is entirely of a technical
nature. The advancement has occurred because America
brought a new idea into the world—a valuable idea.
In a word, there was produced an atmosphere in which
Edison could function, and in which men like him in having
ideas and the intellect for their furtherance, however much they

Our Tradition of Opportunity


might differ from him as to method, could make their influence
felt. The startling forward steps that Edison caused by his
own efforts could not have occurred in a totalitarian state,
whether the label were that of state socialism or Fascism or
something similar. They could occur fully only under the
unusual state of circumstances which obtained in this country
when Edison worked and created. The atmosphere that ex­
isted is hard to define; it had its crudities, but it was a unique
atmosphere and it is well worth preserving.
As the United States matures, we are in distinct danger of
losing this enormous asset. The unwillingness to take risks
which accompanies economic maturity, the cross-currents of
pressure interests, the mere increase of interdependence due to
the advance of mechanization, all tend to destroy the flexibility
and freedom of action which are essential parts of the atmos­
phere of individual creation.
To the trends that were molding our environment and con­
ditioning the atmosphere within which our pioneers worked was
suddenly added the impact of war. We awoke late from a
period of lethargy to find ourselves in an intense struggle
caused by the clash of our political and social philosophies with
ideologies far different from our own. We shall not return
to the exact condition from which we departed when war came.
We have learned many things, and it is to be hoped that we
shall not forget them. It is of especial importance that, as we
readapt ourselves to a new period of peace, we should preserve
the essential features which made this country great. In par­
ticular, the opportunity for the individual creator, for the in­
dustrial pioneer, for the inventor with vision and practicality
should not be lost5 and the atmosphere of our industrial life
should be favorable for his efforts in our behalf.
The effort to hold our own in a technical contest was not by
any means a sinecure, or a struggle in which the outcome could
be predicted a priori and with full confidence. In the course
of the war with the Axis nations we had to mobilize our tech­
nical and scientific resources to the full, and we had to do so



Endless Horizons

with the confusion that is inevitable when a great lumbering
democracy suddenly turns to war. It was necessary to regulate,
to impose controls, and to operate with a secrecy that is foreign
to our own usual open methods. It was not necessary, however,
to suppress thought and initiative and the democratic function­
ing of scientific and technical groups devoted to important
phases of the technical aspects of the war effort. The results
were good.
When the full tale is told, or the part of it is told which
properly can be realized, I am convinced that it will show one
thing and that it will show this forcefully. The free untram­
meled science and engineering of a democracy, when it once
becomes directed toward an objective with full vigor, can out­
strip the regimented efforts of any totalitarian state, provided
there is anything approaching equality of resources on the two
sides. I believe that it will come to be realized fully that our
progress in manufacturing with enormous speed the weapons
needed by our Armed Forces, in improving these weapons, in
initiating new ones, and in keeping our civilian economy with
its enormous technical complication still running effectively, was
not matched by the enemy, and that this occurred in no small
degree because our wartime effort was built upon the existing
structure of freedom, with all that the word implies.
This must be preserved. As we turn again to the days of
peace, it must be preserved in spite of the trends that flow
from the greater interdependence of society, in spite of the
trends that are inherent in the growing maturity of a nation,
in spite of selfish interests of every sort. There must remain
in the United States the opportunity for an Edison, the oppor­
tunity for any youth with initiative, resourcefulness, practicality,
and vision, to create in his own name and by his own efforts new
things that will tend to make this country vigorous and strong
and safe.
The way in which this can be accomplished is not immediate­
ly apparent. The difficulty does not reside in the attitude of
the people, for certainly there is an overwhelming majority

Our Tradition of Opportunity


that holds strongly to the conviction that freedom of individual
opportunity must not be allowed to lapse, and that this involves
genuine industrial opportunity for the individual, or the small
group of individuals that join in a business effort. The diffi­
culty arises from two facts. First, there are great sections of
our industrial affairs that can be handled economically only by
large industrial units. Second, the very complexity of modern
life requires increased and centralized governmental activity,
in order that the public interest may be fully protected and
furthered by those measures of regulation and public works
which government alone can perform adequately. The point
is that, as a people, we have two parallel objectives; and we
have been clumsy at times and allowed one to submerge the

In time of war concentration of effort and the imposition of
rigid controls are essential for a fully coordinated all-out effort.
The question is raised why, if this concentration is more effec­
tive for war, is it not also more effective for peace? One answer
is the fact that the war concentration is effective primarily be­
cause it was constructed out of elements that became available
and efficient under the relative freedom of peacetime conditions
in a democracy, and there is no assurance that a brief effective
concentration would remain so. Quite the contrary is what I
believe the record of history will show. A more complete reply
lies in the fact that we seek in the United States something be­
yond mere mechanical efficiency; we seek a society in which
initiative and talent may have an outlet, and in which the in­
dividual may have opportunity to rise by his own efforts and
contributions and not merely by the fixed operation of a system.
We would be willing to sacrifice, if need be, some mechanical
efficiency in the interests of individual freedom. My own con­
viction is that no sacrifice in the full effectiveness of the country
is truly involved in the long run; and that, on the contrary,
the elements which have rendered us strong in the past will



Endless Horizons

render us still stronger in the future if we have sufficient in­
telligence and conviction to insist upon their preservation.
As peace returns, controls automatically become relaxed.
This is not enough. A negative slump back to a state of drift­
ing, buffered by the trends that are inherent in technical prog­
ress, will not carry us on our appointed course as a nation. A
positive and well-thought-out effort is needed if we are to com­
bine the conditions of modern industry and modern government
with that freedom within unitary organizations and within so­
ciety as a whole which will allow the unusual individual to have
a real chance of accomplishment and success. It can be done,
if we have the steadfastness and conviction to insist that it be
done. In this effort the great body of engineers and scientific
men in the United States have an important part, for they are
in a unique position to view and understand both sides of a
matter which is primarily technical, economic, and organiza­
tional. If we are wise there will be, in the future, many Edisons in the United States. They may not shine with his peculiar
brilliance, but they will add to the well-being of the nation a
necessary element which can be added in no other way. Their
opportunity must be preserved open before them.

The patent system of the United States was set up originally
to bring benefit to the public by advancing the useful arts. It
does so by creating a temporary monopoly, thereby rendering
possible the hazardous development of untried inventions,
which would otherwise not come to fruition to add to the gen­
eral well-being and increase the standard of living of the peo­
ple. By its substantial rewards it stimulates invention, and the
assiduous study and persistent effort on which invention is
based. That it has been successful needs no demonstration, for
its results are all about us.
The primary purpose of the patent system of this country is
to stimulate new industries. This is always an important mat­
ter, but it becomes particularly important as the country
emerges from a serious depression. The history of depressions
shows that the time of emergence is usually marked by impor­
tant technical advances resulting in the creation of new and
extensive industries. If this had not occurred we could not
have attained the present high standard of living. For the
prosperity of the country it is imperative that this trend should
The patent system in the past has been one of the primary
influences in shaping American industrial life, and it has assist­
ed enormously in the development of the country. In the con­
sidered opinion of those best able to judge, it is not however at
the present time functioning to full advantage. There are seri­
ous difficulties. The use of scientific results in industry is a
much more complicated matter than when the patent system
was first set up, and the system has not been altered to bring it
closely in line with the modern complex matters with which it




Endless Horizons

has to deal. If it is to fulfill its proper function to the greatest
possible extent it is therefore essential that it be changed in
certain ways in order that new industries may be stimulated
and not inhibited by its operation.
The patent system of this country is old, and it has gradually
developed into a complex structure. Radical changes in such
a system should of course not be undertaken without serious
and careful consideration. It would be equally fatal, however,
to refuse to consider alterations at all when the changed times
dictate modification.
In a complicated situation such as this, it is not possible to
point out panaceas which will automatically treat for the opti­
mum public benefit and with complete equity every individual
case that can be cited. Objections can be raised, and will be
raised, to every suggested change in a system which so closely
affects the interests of widely different classes of individuals.
The attempt has been made to recommend as few changes as
possible, and to make these changes in such manner as to bring
the greatest good to the greatest number.
There are three primary defects in the system as it stands at
present, considered in connection with the functions which it is
called upon to perform in a modern complex technical world.
The first defect arises by reason of the issuance by the Patent
Office of an enormous number of patents, many of which should
never be issued, chiefly because of an unduly low standard of in­
vention. The second defect has to do with the excessive cost
and delay in the litigation of patents, by reason of the present
system of appeals. The third results from the difficulty met by
the courts in handling scientific or technical questions without
competent nonpartisan assistance.
As these defects exist there is a question in the minds of many
serious minded and experienced men whether the system is not
after all more of a liability than an asset. It is seriously sug­
gested that the system has become so complex and cumbersome
that it may break down of its own weight. The situation, while
serious, is not at all hopeless; it is possible to make certain

The Need for Patent Reforms


changes in procedure, not in themselves difficult to put into
effect nor expensive and not changing the existing structure in
any essential or radical manner, which yet may restore the
system to its former condition of importance and beneficent in­
fluence on American industry.

The Patent Office now issues many patents which are later
found invalid in the courts. It issues a much larger number
which never can have commercial importance. With two mil­
lion United States patents issued, the situation is unduly com­
plex and is growing worse. When approximately 90,000
patents are applied for in a year the amount of attention which
can be paid to each one in the Office is not sufficient to insure a
strong presumption of validity in issued patents. The staff is
overburdened. It has neither the opportunity nor the facilities
to make the study and search necessary to clarify the situation,
and the trivial and the obvious are issued to confuse American
business. This situation is not the fault of the Patent Office
personnel. It results from the nature of the technical advance
which has taken place in the past few decades. It should, how­
ever, be positively corrected.
The standard of invention cannot be arbitrarily raised by
creating a new definition of invention. The courts can influence
the standard through their decisions only gradually, and by the
undesirable means of finding invalid a large fraction of the
patents which come before them, which, temporarily at least,
decreases rather than increases the presumption of validity of
patents as issued. The Commissioner of Patents should be sup­
ported in his efforts to eliminate the trivial and the obvious,
but merely increasing the number of patent office personnel will
not effect a cure. There is needed a change in procedure which
will aid the office in raising standards, and positively increase
the presumption of validity.



Endless Horizons

The British and German systems provide for publication of
an application before issuance, thus inviting contests within the
Office prior to the issuance of a patent. There are obvious ob­
jections to this procedure. The most serious objection is that
the inventor is often unduly burdened with the expense of a
contest, which is particularly serious for the individual inventor
without resources. It is much better procedure to maintain the
action in the Patent Office ex parte, as is our present practice.
However, without incurring the difficulty of the system involv­
ing contests, it is possible to secure much of the improvement
in the presumption of validity of an issued patent which such a
system produces. This benefit is very real. At the present
time our Office issues patents without a thorough search of
American and foreign literature, but with a search often de­
voted to American patents only, with some small attention to
publications and foreign patents. The result is that many pat­
ents are issued which are clearly invalid in view of prior patents
and publications. Such patents often cause expensive litigation
before they are finally found invalid. The theory that the
Office should issue patents with little or no examination, leav­
ing the determination of their validity to the courts, is either
practically inoperative or unduly expensive. This is substan­
tially the French system. The American system is preferable,
and it goes a certain distance toward the examination of prior
art in order that a patent when issued may carry strong pre­
sumption of validity, instead of being merely a means for
entering litigation. However, our procedure does not go far
enough, and the provision of an adequate corps of examiners,
with sufficient time and training to be able to review adequately
the entire prior art, whether in patents or in the literature,
would be highly expensive. A modification of the system of
publication before issuance will secure the desired result with­
out great cost. It will aid the Patent Office in increasing the
presumption of validity of issued patents. It is recommended,

The Need for Patent Reforms


therefore, that, when an application is ready for allowance, it
be published in the Official Gazette, and the submission of per­
tinent facts by interested parties be invited.
The publication should be made in the manner employed at
present in publishing an abstract and sample claims when a pat­
ent is issued j and the allowed claims, and preferably also the
specification and drawings, should be opened to inspection. The
publication and material opened to inspection should not dis­
close the date of filing, nor give any other information unneces­
sary for the purpose in hand. Upon such publication the Office
should allow anyone interested, and within a stated time, to
submit facts which are pertinent to any application thus pub­
lished. These facts, however, should be limited to references
or photostat copies of prior patents or other published printed
papers, books, or documents, such as are available in libraries
or other public sources.
Arguments and affidavits should be rigidly excluded. The
procedure in the Patent Office should be maintained strictly
ex parte. However, before the patent is finally passed to issue,
the Examiner should give it a further review in view of any
new material thus brought to light, and either pass it to issue,
or make necessary rejection of claims. Of course in case of re­
jection on this basis the applicant should have an opportunity
to present arguments as he has at present, and an opportunity
of appeal. The documents filed should be made part of the
file-wrapper of the application.
An applicant who files an interfering application after such
publication should be under the same heavy burden of proof as
the applicant who now files an interfering patent application
after the granting of a patent.
This change will not cause undue expense to the inventor,
but will aid him by giving him a stronger patent, much less
likely to be voided by the courts. The burden of submitting
evidence will be welcomed by those interested in special fields
of development, as it will largely avoid the more serious bur­
den incident to the issuance of unwarranted patents.



Endless Horizons

It appears that this change can be effected by amending the
Patent Office Rules of Practice. A relatively small increase in
expense of operation of the Patent Office is involved, and this
should be provided for in the proper Congressional legislation.
A great deal of delay and confusion results from our present
system of litigation of patents. The patent suits on a single
important patent may cost several hundred thousand dollars.
Such a burden confronting a young and struggling new indus­
try often results in its thorough discouragement. It is possible
under the present system for very many years to elapse between
the initiation of proceedings and their final disposition, and in­
dustry in the meantime falters. It is possible for suits to be
brought simultaneously on the same patent in several district
courts. Moreover, on their appeal to the circuit courts of ap­
peals it is sometimes the case that conflicting decisions are given
in different circuits. The result of this entire situation is a seri­
ous burden on growing industry, and on this point there is the
strongest feeling among users of the system of a need for

There should be established a single Court for Patent Ap­
peals, in order to establish and maintain harmony and accuracy
in judicial interpretation of patent questions, by confining the
appellate jurisdiction in civil patent causes to one court, com­
posed of permanent judges having the necessary scientific or
technical background.
Each judge should be learned in the law and proficient in
knowledge of the industrial application of science, and should
have had a reasonable experience in the trial of patent suits on
the bench or at the bar. If, in order to grasp more fully spe­
cial technical questions, the court wishes to call temporarily
upon experts to advise and consult on difficult points, it should
be enabled to do so.
In view of the importance of this court the salaries paid to
the judges should be adequate to attract men of the highest

The Need for Patent Reforms


stamp. The qualifications have two aspects, and it is accord­
ingly desirable that scientific as well as legal opinions and sug­
gestions concerning appointees be given weight.
In the phrase “civil patent causes” we include suits in Fed­
eral Courts, other than the Court of Claims, (1) alleging in­
fringement of a patent, (2) alleging breach of a license agree­
ment involving a patent or invention, (3) in equity to obtain a
patent, (4) in equity alleging interfering patents, or (5) under
the declaratory-judgment law, involving any of the above
The Court should be composed of a sufficient number of per­
manent judges, any three of whom should constitute a quorum.
The Court should be located in Washington, D. C., and should
also hold terms at least once a year in each judicial circuit, ex­
cept as these may be omitted at the discretion of the senior or
chief justice of the Court.
It appears desirable that there should be transferred to this
new Court the present jurisdiction of the Court of Customs and
Patent Appeals of all patent and trade-mark appeals from the
Patent Office. Emphasis should be placed on the desirability of
a single court, adequately provided for, composed of judges of
high qualifications, with final jurisdiction in patent causes except
as their findings may be reviewed by the Supreme Court on
writ of certiorari. Such a court will bring to industry that cer­
tainty and expedition which is essential if the patent system is
to be fully effective in stimulating new industries.
In order to put this recommendation into effect Congression­
al legislation is needed.

The determination of the just equity in a patent suit involves
two diverse aspects, the law and the technical facts. When the
technique involved was simple, before science had made the
great strides of the past generation and before the fruits of its
progress became applied and embodied in patents, the judge
could readily acquire during the progress of a suit that back­



Endless Horizons

ground necessary for him to understand the technical facts pre­
sented to him. To expect him to do so today, with the present
specialization and intensification of technical knowledge, leads
to a severe burden upon him, and to undue expense to the liti­
gants. It is true that the litigants call their own experts, but
this does not fill the need. The Court itself should be so com­
posed as to understand and deal adequately and promptly with
the matters brought before it. This has been embodied in the
previous recommendation of a single court for patent appeals.
It is especially desirable that courts of first instance be also so
constituted as to treat difficult technical questions with precision
and promptitude.

It is therefore recommended that there be provided scien­
tific or technical advisers or juries to furnish adequate sci­
entific or technical assistance to courts of first instance in equity
patent causes.
The phrase “equity patent causes” is used to exclude suits at
law, but is otherwise synonymous with “civil patent causes” as
used in the preceding section.
The advisers or jurors should be United States citizens of
sufficient scientific or technical qualifications so that they are
expert in the art to which the suit relates. They should be se­
lected by the Court, with such suggestions from the litigants
as may be solicited, but without the necessity of securing agree­
ment of the litigants to the selection.
Initially they should be selected at large. It is recommended
however, that steps be taken to prepare and maintain an ade­
quate list of qualified experts, and that upon its establishment
selection should be confined to this list. It is believed that the
National Research Council, in cooperation with the national
scientific and engineering societies, would be the proper agency
to be charged with the duty of preparing and maintaining a list
for this purpose.
It has been stated that it would be difficult to find properly

The Need for Patent Reforms


qualified experts. No such difficulty will exist. It is true that
there are many fully qualified scientists and engineers who con­
sistently decline to act as experts for litigants in patent cases;
often because the partisan presentation of a cause, while neces­
sary and proper, is natural for an attorney but unnatural for a
scientist or engineer. To a call from the courts for dignified
and non-partisan aid in the handling of patent cases there will
be ample response. Nor does this country lack men of the
highest type, both from the standpoint of their professional at­
tainments in the sciences and their applications, and from the
standpoint of their trustworthiness and public spirit.
It should be mandatory upon the Federal district courts in
equity patent causes to utilize the services of either a technical
adviser or a technical jury, but the court should be free to
select either alternative, and should make selection anew for
each suit.
When a technical jury is utilized, its report should be final
as to questions of fact. Three jurors should be sufficient.
When an adviser is utilized, he should be merely advisory
to the court, and his report, if called for by the Court, should
have the same presumption of accuracy as a master’s report has,
under the Equity Rules.
The adviser or jury should act in conjunction with the court
and under its direction as to procedure.
The compensation of experts employed in this manner should
be commensurate with their usual earning power. It should
preferably be fixed by the court, as is done now with masters
under the Equity Rules, but it may be fixed by statute, in
which event the maximum per diem should be such as is cus­
tomary for consultants with high standing in their professions.
This compensation may be taxable as part of the costs of the
suit, as is done now with masters under the Equity Rules; or
it may be paid by the government as a part of the cost of main­
taining the courts. On the matter of the allocation of the ex­
pense no convictions are offered.
This modification in procedure will notably and properly in­



Endless Horizons

crease the prestige and dignity of the courts. It will utilize, in
the speedy and just disposition of patent causes, the great asset
which this country has in its body of scientific and technical
men. It will, by causing expedition, decrease the costs of liti­
gation j and by rendering our patent system more sure and
effective, it will benefit especially inventors and new indus­
tries, and thus benefit the people generally.
It appears that this change can be largely effected by the
United States Supreme Court through an amendment to the
Equity Rules, although Congressional legislation may be need­
ed on some points.

There have been repeated suggestions that some system of
compulsory licensing be introduced in this country. The usual
reason given for the need of such a system is that patented
articles are sometimes not manufactured and made available to
the public, for one reason because of the failure to reach an
agreement on the part of those owning several patents, all of
which are involved. The principal argument against compul­
sory licensing is the statement that by decreasing the strength
of the patent monopoly it would reduce the incentive to inven­
tion and development, and vitiate to a considerable extent the
effectiveness of the system in the development of industry.
The point is a difficult one, and it goes directly to the heart of
the system.
No system of compulsory licensing should be introduced at
this time. This problem has not as yet been constructively
analyzed with the completeness which should precede any such
fundamental alteration in our patent system as is here involved.
Such a study should be made by a group combining legal, sci­
entific, and business points of view, which can approach the
problem judicially and without prejudice, and with ample
time for its full consideration. The nature of the problem is
brought out by the following:
There has been enormous change in technique and commer-

The Need for Patent Reforms


dal practice in the last hundred years. The patent system at
its inception contemplated an individual inventor, given a mo­
nopoly for 17 years as a reward and stimulant for invention,
and to enable funds to be obtained for commercialization. This
simple stipulation no longer obtains. What was originally a
self-sufficient patent to an individual for 17 years has developed
into a patent structure or assemblage of patents, giving a sub­
stantially permanent monopoly in an advancing art to an indus­
try or a group of industries. The justification for the extension
in a democratic country of an absolute monopoly to an inventor
for 17 years, on the basis that this is a reasonable reward for his
disclosure of his invention in lieu of maintaining it secret, no
longer applies generally. In these days of intensified research
and development it is the usual experience to find that impor­
tant advances arise nearly simultaneously at many points. They
are the result of an advancing knowledge and technique, and
the advent of a specific human need and commercial opportu­
nity. The individual inventor plays an important part in recog­
nizing the situation and supplying the needed combination. In
most cases, however, he could not hold it secret and use it pri­
vately if he wished. Moreover, if he did not appear with his
invention it would not be long in these intense times before
some other inventor would supply the necessary creative
thought. This is not exclusively the situation, of course. There
are still brilliant and striking flashes of intellect which create
startling inventions which would not otherwise be made for per­
haps a generation. The point is that inventions of this type are
few and far between, and they are insignificant in number com­
pared to the nearly 100,000 patents now issued annually.
Moreover, most of these brilliant advances would be made and
disclosed whether or not there were a patent system designed
to produce a reward. The old justification for the extension of
exclusive monopoly no longer holds.
There is still, however, a fully valid reason for continuing the
system of extending a patent monopoly. New developments
are hazardous. Only a small fraction of the attempts to bring



Endless Horizons

into public use new and untried combinations are commercially
successful. It is imperative that there should be an opportunity
for the successful venture to reap a speculative profit. If it were
assured only of a competitive profit, funds would not flow into
new ventures, and this country would soon lose its place in a
rapidly advancing technique. The opportunity for the neces­
sary speculative profit can be secured only by the extension of a
monopoly. Moreover there is great danger that an ill-advised
restriction of this monopoly would cut the heart out of a system
on which a great part of the striking industrial development of
this country has been based.
Certainly a system of compulsory licensing based merely on
failure to manufacture under a patent, such as has been in effect
with dubious results in several countries, is not an adequate solu­
tion of the problem. A group which succeeds in arriving simul­
taneously at two new ways of adequately supplying a public
need should not be penalized by being forced to manufacture
both resulting devices.
Much of the difficulty arises because, under the law, all in­
ventions are treated on an equal basis. A new collar button and
a new flying machine result in patents granting similar rights
and privileges. Careful consideration should be given to the
desirability of creating two classes of patents, major and minor,
with a relatively limited grant under the latter. A part of the
distinction should result from the fact that some inventions are
of such nature that they demand large and perilous expendi­
tures, such as become expedient under monopoly, in order to
bring them to fruition for the public benefit; whereas other
inventions would come into use whether there were a patent
system or not.
Under the present system, when a suit for infringement is
successful, the court has no alternative than to assess profits and
damages and order the cessation of infringement. When a pat­
ent has thus been found valid and infringed, the court cannot
consider the public interest when called upon to issue an injunc­

The Need for Patent Reforms


tion to stop the use of the combination by others than the
owner and his licensees.
Often the infringed patent is incidental or minor, or its pri­
mary utility may lie in an entirely different field. It would
appear reasonable that in such cases, and to prevent unwar­
ranted disruption of industry, the Court should be enabled to
order the payment of reasonable royalties, rather than simply
to order cessation. Such a provision would resolve the quandary
in which Courts are forced by the strict letter of the law to act
in a manner contrary to what appears to be broad public interest.
Yet the determination that such a situation really existed would
be difficult, and the evaluation of the extent to which a given
patent controlled a given situation would be bound to be vague.
In order to be definite such a change in our basic patent law as
is here envisaged should therefore wait until the classification
of patents into major and minor groups has been established,
or until some equally positive way has been developed of de­
limiting the discretionary power of the courts.
The situation is thus a complicated one, in which hastily
considered changes are highly inadvisable. It is believed that
the modifications recommended in this report will result in a
firmer base from which to approach the whole question of
compulsory licensing.

The three major modifications recommended above are of
primary importance. However, there are many secondary
modifications, some of which are already receiving effective
attention on the part of the Advisory Committee to the Patent
Office, on which comment is in order.
Patent Office Personnel and Facilities: Every effort should
be made to increase the standing and ability of the personnel
of the Patent Office. They are handling an exceedingly difficult
piece of work, which is an essential undertaking for the good of
the country. In this work they should be generously supported.
There are various ways in which they can be assisted, outside



Endless Horizons

of the simple matter of remuneration. It appears desirable that
examiners should have an opportunity to become acquainted
with the developments in their field, by visits to industry and
by further study, in order that they may perfect themselves in
the handling of their advancing arts. They should have better
library facilities. It appears also desirable that there should be
a mechanism by which they may consult experts on scientific
or technical questions, of course without disclosure of any mat­
ter under their consideration. They represent the public in
important negotiations and the dignity of their position should
be enhanced, and real accomplishment in this important public
service recognized. It should receive direct subsidy in addition
to all income from fees. The benefit to industry will return
this investment tenfold.
Delays: The matter of delays is always serious. The burden
which this places on industry at large is not always compre­
hended. Technical matters move much more rapidly in these
days than they did a generation ago, and there is no inherent
reason why legal matters should not also become accelerated.
We are in a vastly different age from that when it took months
to communicate with Washington. It would appear that the
time allowed for the answer to an Office action and the time
allowed before the payment of a final fee might with propriety
be still further reduced. Similarly, the allowable delays in
interferences should be cut down. Since, in American practice,
the monopoly runs from the date of issue rather than the date
of application, and since attorneys often delay the prosecution
of applications in order thus to extend the effective monopoly,
the Patent Commissioner should in the public interest rigorous­
ly restrict the pendency of applications and the duration of in­
terferences to the minimum period consistent with proper ex­
amination and adjudication, and the Office tules should be
modified wherever necessary to bring this about. These matters
are receiving attention by the Advisory Committee to the Pat­
ent Office, together with others affecting the procedure in that

The Need, for Patent Reforms


Office. Progress has been made, particularly in regard to inter­
ferences, and further progress is desirable.
Another type of delay occurs in connection with litigation.
Wherever delays are unnecessary they should be studiously
avoided, as they constitute a serious drag on industrial progress.
There is a delay which sometimes occurs by reason of failure
of a judge to give his decision promptly after the conclusion of
a suit. It is realized that an interval at this time is necessary
in order that a judge may read the law. However it appears
that the interval which occurs between the conclusion of the
suit and the rendering of the decision is often much longer than
is necessary for this purpose. This appears to be often due to
the difficulty experienced by the judge in fully understanding
the technical facts presented to him, and in such cases the
modification in court procedure recommended in this report
will remove much of this difficulty. If delay occurs by reason
of undue burden on the judge, then the burden on the court
should be relieved in order that it may be reduced. It is entire­
ly possible that some judges do not realize the serious harm
which may be occasioned by delay, and that a better realization
of this fact would automatically result in greater expedition. It
is essential that delays be reduced at all points as far as is con­
sistent with proper deliberate procedure, for the correction of
the existing situation lies within the purview of the courts.
Joint Inventions: There is confusion regarding the matter of
joint inventions. This is sometimes the reason why a patent
becomes invalid on what is substantially a technicality. If the
law states that the actual inventor must sign the application,
but that he may be joined if he wishes by others who have in
his opinion contributed, without danger of his patent’s being
found invalid because of the fact that their contribution is later
found not to have been essential, the situation will be thorough­
ly clarified. This has been suggested many times.
Reissuesy Disclaimers, Renewals: There seems to be strong
argument for abolishing the granting of reissues and for sim­
plifying the law concerning disclaimers. Expedition and clarity



Endless Horizons

would also result if the practice of allowing renewals were dis­
continued. These matters appear to be in the nature of un­
necessary complications, which confer a proper benefit in rela­
tively rare instances, but the continuance of which in their
present forms causes more confusion and cost to the public than
is warranted by the results.
Equitable Treatment of American and Foreign Inventors:
The American inventor is at a disadvantage in certain respects
as compared to the foreign inventor. This whole situation is
involved with the international agreements regarding patents.
It requires careful study in order that any modifications intro­
duced shall not give justifiable offense. However, the rights
of the American inventor should be maintained on the same
plane as of those in foreign countries who apply for United
States patents, or for patents in other countries.
Reclassification of Patents: There has long been need for a
thorough reclassification of patents in the Patent Office. The
funds necessary for this piece of necessary work are not large,
and should be provided.
Annual Taxes: There is much confusion due to the enor­
mous number of patents in this country. As far as concerns
those which are issued, not expired, considered valuable by their
owners and yet probably invalid, little can be done except to
leave the matter to litigation. There are, however, many issued
patents which are now known to be worthless by those who hold
them. It would be of great help if these could be removed from
consideration. There are in various countries systems whereby
patents are subjected to an annual tax. The result of this is
promptly to remove from consideration all patents which are
regarded by their owners to be not worth the payment of a
tax. Such a system would greatly clarify the atmosphere in
which industry operates by removing dead material, as patents
upon which the tax remained unpaid would lapse.
The introduction of such a system should, however, be made
in such a way as not to increase the burden of the individual
inventor. In fact he is already overburdened financially by

The Need for Patent Reforms


the present filing and final fees, taken together with his attor­
ney’s fees. The part played by individual and isolated inven­
tors in our industrial development is not proportionately as
great as it once was, for the greater part of modern invention
comes from the joint work of many in laboratories. However,
the day of the individual inventor is not past j his services to the
country are needed and should be encouraged. He often points
out the new and useful combination which would otherwise be
overlooked if it were not for his discerning eye. The careers
of successful individual inventors show that an expense at the
time of making an invention is often a serious burden indeed,
especially on the first invention of a series. Expense at a later
stage, however, is not likely to be serious at all} for if the
invention is truly important it soon attracts funds for its de­
velopment, and further patent expenses in the Patent Office are
a minor matter compared to the expense of such development,
which is usually carried by others. It is desirable therefore
that the initial burden on the inventor be reduced by cutting
the filing and final fees, and that this be offset by imposing
annual taxes.
There should then be a system of annual taxes, beginning
several years after issuance, and on an ascending scale. These
should be so adjusted that the total income from fees and taxes
will be approximately the same as at present. By this means
the burden will be no greater than at present, it will be placed
where it can most readily be borne, and there will result the
removal from consideration of a vast number of patents which
are now simply an impediment.

The United States has developed marvelously in a technical
way. Much of this advance has been due to the innate in­
genuity of its people, and the patent system has been one of the
main rocks on which the prosperity of the country has been
erected. The character of the people has not changed, but the
times have changed decidedly. Other countries, not previously



Endless Horizons

technically minded, are going forward rapidly in this direction.
Competition in technical affairs will be keen, and any nation
which does not rapidly progress will drop into a secondary posi­
tion in a technical world. The patent system, built exceedingly
wisely in the early days of our history, and developed carefully
and skillfully in the hands of the Patent Office, the attorneys
and the courts, is no longer completely in tune with modern
conditions. It should be maintained and strengthened. Altera­
tion is now essential if it is to continue to be a firm foundation
for industrial advance. Modifications should be entered upon
carefully and thoughtfully, without destroying any vital part of
the structure, but nevertheless courageously and thoroughly.
Such a procedure is essential for the welfare of the country.
The greater problem of the stimulation of new industries is
related to the more comprehensive program. The benefits to
be derived from a modernization of the patent system are de­
pendent upon the treatment accorded by the people of this
country to their industries generally.
The frontiers have disappeared. No longer may a citizen
break new ground beyond the horizon. But the opportunity for
pioneering in the application of science to human needs remains,
and calls for the same virtues of courage, independence, and
perseverance. It still is possible to enter uncharted regions in
industry, and it is still hazardous thus to open new territory
for the national welfare.
There has been a powerful trend toward stronger govern­
ment control of large industry in recent years. Unfortunately
this has resulted in many measures which have borne heavily,
and which have added artificial hazards to those naturally in
the path of new ventures. Independence has been curtailed.
Legal complexities have been multiplied. The making of a
large profit has been frowned upon. The creation of truly new
industries and products has been rendered nearly impossible.
This trend must reverse.
The removal of unnecessary hurdles in the patent system
will help. It can provide, however, only part of the essential

The Need for Patent Reforms


correction. He who brings a new product or a new industry
into being, with consequent gainful employment and a quicken­
ing of the national tempo, must be truly encouraged. As he
takes great risks, and as many failures in new ventures are
inevitable for each success, so must he feel secure in the earn­
ing of that speculative profit which is his incentive. It is the
function of government to protect him from badgering by any
organized group, so long as he regards the primary rights of
others in his attempt to advance. Above all it is the function
of government to see that he is constrained in his activities
within the path of legitimate effort in as simple a manner as
The patent system requires modification in this regard. But
the welfare of the pioneer should be always prominently in
mind wherever government control of industry is considered
in regulations concerning fair competition, in systems of taxa­
tion, in rules regarding the issuance of securities, and in all
other control which affects him. Upon his progress depends
the standing of our country in a shrunken world of intense com­
petition, and the standard of living of our people compared to
those of other lands. We sadly need to return to the realiza­
tion that the pioneer is a benefactor, against whom the door of
opportunity must not be closed.


Thoroughout the world, thoughtful people are agreed that
there must be peace, and that the nations must join together to
maintain it. The bombs that burst over Hiroshima and Naga­
saki require that we end war as an accepted and possible instru­
ment for nations. In those bombs which unleashed the titanic
power of atomic energy, mankind demonstrated to itself that
it has reached the ultimate in destructive power. This means
that a new world, evil or good, as we choose, lies before us.
On the one hand are utter ruin and suicide; on the other are
friendship and abundant life. It makes no difference whether a
man is a physicist or a farmer, a Russian or an American, a
youngster or a grandfather, a machinist or a financier—when
he looks at these alternatives, he thinks first of all as a simple
human being. And as he sums up in his mind the toll of death
and devastation which the war has exacted, and projects in his
imagination the horribly greater toll which another war would
surely demand, he knows in his heart that greater than all other
considerations—of race, nationality, ambition, trade, profession,
power, or prestige—is the one all-encompassing fact that there
must be peace and good will among men.
This has been mankind’s problem after every war in history.
It has never been solved—but there has always been another
chance. This time it must be solved, for there will be no chance
to try again. Another war would not necessarily wipe the
human race from the face of the earth. But it could reduce the
human race to a savage level or below.
The atomic bomb means that war now could come with vol­
canic suddenness and volcanic destructiveness to the headquar­

Science For World Service


ters of industry and production, and could blast the nerve cen­
ters of civilization into impotence even before an alert could be
spread. The entire pattern in which we are accustomed to think
of war is scrapped by this truth. Moreover, non-atomic weap­
ons which were under study, in preparation, or in existence
when atomic bombs ended this war could by themselves when
fully developed obliterate civilization. The atomic bomb em­
phasized and punctuated a stark reality. It is therefore impera­
tive for us finally to prove that the old assumption that wars
are inevitable is a fallacy.
Already we have made marked progress toward that proof,
in the establishment of a framework within which the peaceful
people of the world can work together. The United Nations
Organization is a fact, and a fact that can be made as powerful
in its way as the fact of the availability of atomic energy.
I believe that a strong United States is the surest guarantee
of peace in the world. Not a strong United States policing
the world. Not a United States strong in merely immediate
military power designed to wage war in the next few years. I
mean a United States strong now, and stronger in the future,
governmentally, economically, scientifically, industrially, mor­
ally, and also, and until we arrive at an international frame­
work capable of preserving peace, strong in a military sense.
We must grasp the tough fact that the very emphasis on
peace in the great democracies in the interval between the last
two wars undoubtedly fostered the aggressors’ conviction that
the democracies were soft and decadent, and encouraged Hitler
to strike. Talk of peace must this time be realistic; we shall
need to maintain our full strength as a military power if we are
to be respected and listened to.
Americans who sincerely want to share in securing and main­
taining the peace of the world through a strong international
organization have their work plainly before them. We must
all judge our courses as good or bad according to how they
will help or hinder the strength with which the nation goes
forward, not as a possible combatant in a world of isolated sus­



Endless Horizons

picious states, but as one free people among other free peoples.
This applies to the engineer in the field, the scientist in the
laboratory, the industrialist at his desk, the mechanic at the
lathe—to all of us as individuals, and to all of us as groups.
No individual, no group, has any right to override the good
of the nation as a whole. At this critical time any individual
who places a selfish interest above the good of his country,
above its strength in a difficult world, should pause to think
that by so doing he may be making it necessary for his children
or grandchildren to fight in a desperate war.
The realistic sense of moral responsibility which I stress here
is basic. With it, we have the foundation on which the bul­
warks of national strength can be built.
I place high in the list of these the maintenance of vigorous
research in fundamental science, with Federal financial aid for
the support of research programs and for the education of fu­
ture scientists, and with stress on the fact that fundamental re­
search demands at the same time the highest degree of freedom
and initiative for the individual. There must be no taint of
regimentation as Federal support is thus provided. The Con­
gress now has under consideration bills which will establish a
national research foundation. Through this mechanism, the
people of the United States will be enabled to foster the funda­
mental studies of science from which come rich basic knowledge
and immediate practical utility. Of particularly great impor­
tance is the fact that this legislation will help give the brains
of young Americans a full chance to work. Throughout all
the fields of knowledge, and especially in the vast unknown new
field of atomic energy, the need and the opportunity for young
fresh minds are greater than ever before in history.
During the war years we drew heavily on our scientific capi­
tal, making great advances in applied science—in radar, rockets,
antiaircraft gunnery, in immediate therapeutics, in transporta­
tion. To do so, we had to give up fundamental research and so
we had to sacrifice the future to the present. We must now re­
plenish the reservoirs of fundamental knowledge. It is through

Science For World Service


the application of the results of vigorous fundamental research
that we have in the past created extensive industries, secured
productive employment for our people, raised our standard of
living and of general education, and increased the national in­
come upon which government draws for the general good. We
must be able to rely in the future on fundamental science to
provide the basis for these things to a greater extent than we
have in the past.
The advantages which an alert and aggressive military estab­
lishment gained from scientific research in the hard-fought
struggle just past need no rehearsal here by me. Bear in mind
the third member of the powerful team that made them possi­
ble. This third member is American industry, flexible, re­
sourceful, vigorous. Without it, this country and the rest of the
free world might well have gone down in defeat. Industrial
might, when well exerted through teamwork between manage­
ment and labor, has always been one of this country’s greatest
sources of national strength, in peace or war. Hence I hold
that we must foster and preserve the industrial zeal that has
served us well ever since our pioneer days. Only thus can we
be sure of the avenues by which the results of scientific and
engineering progress find their place as useful products in na­
tional and international life.
This does not mean that the central government should relax
its vigilance to protect the public against wrongdoing—in busi­
ness or elsewhere. It does mean, however, that we must en­
courage the advent of new industrial units, remove obstacles
and petty annoyances, and thus create a climate of opinion in
which sound business will thrive. It does not mean failure to
regulate where regulation is necessary, as in the natural monop­
olies, but it does mean that there should be no hostility between
government and business, even if business is big.
We must have a strong government. Its several functions
must be clearly defined and allocated, it must consist of able,
alert men, and above all it must be honest and upright because
its members have moral integrity and a breadth of vision which



Endless Horizons

lets them see against the background of history the significance
of what they do. In the war years, all Americans in and out of
uniform have been alert participants in their government. It
will not do for that active sharing to slacken now.
In this war the representative republican system proved effi­
cient, versatile, adaptable. We must keep it that way. There
is no inconsistency between this assertion and the existence of a
strong federal government in the United States. As society
becomes more complex there are more things for the central
government to do— many things which only it can do. Nor is
there inconsistency between this assertion and the creation of
great government works. Some of these are as old as the na­
tion—consider the postal system, the highways spanning the
continent. Such works as these are of necessity a national and
hence a governmental responsibility. A new one is before us
in the control and administration of atomic energy. Already,
in legislation now being considered, we are undertaking the
problem of national control—an essential first step toward ulti­
mate world regulation and utilization of this vast new power.
Establishment of an Atomic Energy Control Commission of
competent and disinterested citizens armed by the Congress
with the unprecedented powers demanded by their unprece­
dented responsibilities, with proper safeguards against their
arbitrary or unreasonable use, should soon be expected.
Now just as the self-interest of groups within the nation
must yield to the essential requirement that the nation be
strong, so the self-interest of nations must in the years to come
be subordinated in order that the world organization may be
strong. We must be prepared to recognize that no short-range
self-interest of the United States can be allowed to stand in the
way of full and sincere collaboration with other nations in the
furtherance of peace. At this moment, we Americans face this
issue, and the issue is stated in very great terms. It is the ques­
tion whether and how we shall share with othfer nations our
knowledge of the control and utilization of atomic energy. I
do not use the atomic bomb as a term in stating the issue; the

Science For W orld Service


bomb is but one application of atomic energy, a titanic and
awesome application, it is true, but still only one application.
Let me say something about the bomb. First, we can never
be thankful enough that the secret was learned by peace-loving
peoples, not by the fascist nations which sought with all their
might to master it in order to unleash atomic war on the whole
world. Second, the bomb did not win the war; the bomb did
end the war swiftly and I think mercifully, and thereby saved
many thousands of human lives. Third, and this is extremely
important, by reason of its sudden, spectacular effectiveness, the
atomic bomb underscored and emphasized as never before the
fact that the nations of the earth must put an end to all wars for
ever. Fourth, and of equal import, the development of the
bomb—the work of a congress of free minds and free hands in
a free country—is undying testimony to the strength and vital­
ity of the philosophy of government in which we believe. Only
in a free country where people have faith in the good will of
one another could so vast an undertaking have been carried
through so successfully in so short a time. Whatever I have
said earlier about the teamwork of science, management, labor,
the military, and government is forcefully re-emphasized by
this achievement.
For the time being—that is, for the five to fifteen years
which other nations must have if they are to make atomic bombs
of their own—the control of atomic energy thus achieved by
scientists and engineers working in the United States puts in
the hands of the American people a power and an opportunity
such as no people ever before have held. It is a startling fact,
but it is a fact, that the United States today, if it would con­
tinue to put all its resources into such an effort, and if matters
of physical force only were involved, could turn aggressor,
devastate the centers of the world with atomic bombs, and in a
short time impose its will on all nations. The power is thus
the power to rule the world. The opportunity is the oppor­
tunity not to use that power for that purpose. These are not
alternatives for a free people rich in the tradition of freedom.



Endless Horizons

For us, there is no choice between them. The United States
will use the opportunity, not the power.
It is perfectly plain that we will not use atomic energy to
impose our will physically on the world. How shall we use
it? Remember that though all we have now is a bomb, control
of atomic energy will in time become an economic factor of the
first importance. Note that in mankind’s history the applica­
tions of chemical energy appeared first at the simplest level—
uncontrolled fire, then explosions—and that later they were
one by one controlled and applied to meeting human needs.
The science of atomic energy today is comparable to the science
of electricity in the time of Faraday. Things move faster today
than they did a century ago; hence we may expect that though
it is far more difficult, the development of atomic energy for
peaceful industrial and economic use will be swifter than was
the development of electricity. The atom should be at useful
constructive work for us within ten years. Yet it will not per­
ceptibly alter the pattern of our living until long after that.
We shall still use steam and electricity for lighting and power.
The atom will generate these things—not drive the family car.
And we must bear in mind, as we look thus to the future, that
this development which the public interest requires will have to
be carried on under controls which the public safety demands.
Using atomic energy is a dangerous undertaking. But that
energy must be brought to use, for it can ultimately bring all
mankind more ease and peace than we have ever known. Amer­
ican industrial ability, working within sensible limits which the
well-being of the people imposes, can be relied on to overcome
the dangers and produce the benefits.
As an engineer, I have good reason to know that the free
exchange of ideas and knowledge is the first requirement of
progress. We had such a system before the war, and under it
American science and engineering led the world. It must be
restored, for only by the cross-fertilization of brains do we
breed great thinking, and the peaceful control of the energy of
the atom will demand much great thinking. Therefore, I

Science For World Service


hope to see the United States make the first great move toward
the renewal of international exchange of scientific knowledge.
I believe we should undertake to share with our world partners
all of our basic scientific knowledge of atomic energy.
This does not mean that I think we should blandly give away
this part of the information without consideration. The con­
sideration we should ask is quite clear: We would expect all
nations to do likewise, in fact to be equally candid and open in
all areas of scientific progress, and to make the interchange
real by constant exchange of scientists, students, and publica­
tions, with a policy of open doors in scientific laboratories all
over the world. We can bring about this result if we are united
and wise, but it should be clear that there are two great ob­
jects: first, to open our own scientific doors, and second, to do
so in such manner that all other doors will also open.
This would be only a first step, but it would be an impor­
tant one. It would not involve “giving away the secret of the
atomic bomb.” That resides, as far as it exists, primarily in
industrial experience, the solving of a multitude of practical
problems, and the intricate techniques of application. It can­
not be too strongly emphasized that no man could convey this
information by a formula or a diagram or two, if he would;
it is much too complex for that. I would propose that we re­
tain such information securely at present, for it is one of the
reasons that our lead over other nations that might wish to con­
struct atomic bombs is as large as it is. But the first step of
suggesting full interchange on the basic science of the atom is
still important j for to take it would indicate strongly that we
wish to proceed down the road of international collaboration.
Other steps can follow, if the first is successful. I would
advocate as the next step the placing of full information in
regard to all aspects of atomic energy in the hands of a body
in the United Nations Organization, with instructions for the
complete dissemination of it. But I would do so only if there
were complete acceptance of the principle that this body would



Endless Horizons

have inspection rights, to be implemented by a scientific board
internationally constituted, and before the door was opened
wide I would make very sure that such inspection would work,
so that no nation could in fact proceed in secret with military
Beyond this lie other steps, and these hardly need to be
specifically formulated as yet, for the road is long. Trustee­
ship for all military embodiments, provisions for use only under
the orders of the Security Council, dispersion of materials into
industrial embodiments from which they could not be reassem­
bled without the knowledge of the world, are possibilities to
The first step toward that ultimate goal is to establish the
full free flow of facts—the complete and honest exchange of
knowledge—among the nations. We Americans are the first
to be in full possession of the most powerful and most precious
knowledge of the physical world ever discovered. We can
therefore open the way toward assuring the growth of the full
free flow of facts, by providing for complete interchange of
information on the basic scientific aspects of atomic energy. In
the War Department release in early August, we made the
right start, and I believe we should go farther on that course.
The strongest help that we can give to bettering the common
destiny of mankind is to demonstrate in this way our faith in
the good will of men and our desire to be one nation among
other nations in a peaceful world of free interchange.
As we enter a new world I urge two things. Let us main­
tain our country strong in every way. In this strength, let us
lead through the path of international understanding to the
organization of a sovereign world where the nations of men will
find the better, happier life which man’s final mastery of the
energy of the atom offers, if he will but use it rightly. To this
end every citizen, in every contact with his fellows, guided by
his patriotism and his own judgment, has his duty clearly be­
fore him.

The process by which the boundaries of knowledge are ad­
vanced, and the structure of organized science is built, is a com­
plex process indeed. It corresponds fairly well with the ex­
ploitation of a difficult quarry for its building materials and
the fitting of these into an edifice j but there are very significant
differences. First, the material itself is exceedingly varied, hid­
den and overlaid with relatively worthless rubble, and the pro­
cess of uncovering new facts and relationships has some of the
attributes of prospecting and exploration rather than of min­
ing or quarrying. Second, the whole effort is highly unorgan­
ized. There are no direct orders from architect or quarrymaster. Individuals and small bands proceed about their busi­
nesses unimpeded and uncontrolled, digging where they will,
working over their material, and tucking it into place in the
Finally, the edifice itself has a remarkable property, for its
form is predestined by the laws of logic and the nature of hu­
man reasoning. It is almost as though it had once existed, and
its building blocks had then been scattered, hidden, and buried,
each with its unique form retained so that it would fit only in
its own peculiar position, and with the concomitant limitation
that the blocks cannot be found or recognized until the build­
ing of the structure has progressed to the point where their
position and form reveal themselves to the discerning eye of
the talented worker in the quarry. Parts of the edifice are being
used while construction proceeds, by reason of the applications
of science, but other parts are merely admired for their beauty
and symmetry, and their possible utility is not in question.




Endless Horizons

In these circumstances it is not at all strange that the workers
sometimes proceed in erratic ways. There are those who are
quite content, given a few tools, to dig away unearthing odd
blocks, piling them up in the view of fellow workers, and ap­
parently not caring whether they fit anywhere or not. Unfor­
tunately there are also those who watch carefully until some
industrious group digs out a particularly ornamental block;
whereupon they fit it in place with much gusto, and bow to the
crowd. Some groups do not dig at all, but spend all their time
arguing as to the exact arrangement of a cornice or an abut­
ment. Some spend all their days trying to pull down a block
or two that a rival has put in place. Some, indeed, neither dig
nor argue, but go along with the crowd, scratch here and there,
and enjoy the scenery. Some sit by and give advice, and some
just sit.
On the other hand there are those men of rare vision who
can grasp well in advance just the block that is needed for rapid
advance on a section of the edifice to be possible, who can tell
by some subtle sense where it will be found, and who have an
uncanny skill in cleaning away dross and bringing it surely into
the light. These are the master workmen. For each of them
there can well be many of lesser stature who chip and delve,
industriously, but with little grasp of what it is all about, and
who nevertheless make the great steps possible.
There are those who can give the structure meaning, who can
trace its evolution from early times, and describe the glories
that are to be, in ways that inspire those who work and those
who enjoy. They bring the inspiration that not all is mere
building of monotonous walls, and that there is architecture
even though the architect is not seen to guide and order.
There are those who labor to make the utility of the struc­
ture real, to cause it to give shelter to the multitude that they
may be better protected, and that they may derive health and
well-being because of its presence.
And the edifice is not built by the quarrymen and the masons
alone. There are those who bring them food during their la-

The Builders


bors, and cooling drink when the days are warm, who sing to
them, and place flowers on the little walls that have grown
with the years.
There are also the old men, whose days of vigorous building
are done, whose eyes are too dim to see the details of the arch
or the needed form of its keystone, but who have built a wall
here and there, and lived long in the edifice j who have learned
to love it and who have even grasped a suggestion of its ulti­
mate meaning} and who sit in the shade and encourage the
young men.


Accounting machines, 27
Adams, Dr. Roger, 112
Air conditioning, 8, 41
Aircraft, 7, 88-89, 120
Air Force, 95, 97, 99
American Engineering Council, 142
Arithmetical machines, 18, 25-27
Army, 51, 67-68, 72-73, 83-85, 97-99, 107, 111,
Armed Services, 73, 83-84, 92-100, 107, 113117, 121-124, 127
Atabrine, 126
Atlantic, 125, 128
Atomic energy, 101-106, 174-178
Automobiles, 2, 7-9, 19
Biology, 16, 40
Bombs, 82, 89, 129, 170-177
Borden, William A., 84
Britain, 118, 128
Budget, Bureau of, 114
Bundy, Harvey H., 113
Business, 138-139, 173
Carmichael, Dr. Leonard, 123
Churchill, Winston, 128
Civil service, 75, 114
Code, 34-35, 138-137, 141-144
Coe, Conway P., 112
Colleges, 43, 53-54, 58, 62-64, 69, 71, 91, 111,
114, 119
Commission for the Control of Atomic Energy, 106
Committee on Medical Research, 110, 113
Communication, 17, 32, 104
Compton, Dr. Karl T., 112
Conant, Dr. James B., 59, 112-113
Congress, 43, 51, 65, 70, 72, 74, 81, 83, 113,
120, 172, 174
Court for Paent Appeals, 156-157
Davis, Dr. Harvey N., 113, 123
DDT, 126
Defense, 50, 77, 84, 89, 94
Democracy, 41, 107-108, 129-131, 137, 148,171
Department of Commerce, 121
Disease, 17, 39, 45-47
Edison, Thomas A., 146-150
Education, 62-64, 71, 141, 172-173
Eisenhower, General, 128
Electricity, 146
Electron, 30
Engines, 2, 7, 11
Engineering, 114, 116, 132, 137-141, 144
Expenditures, 54, 58, 110
Facsimile, transmission, 21
Faraday, 176
Fellowships, 60, 64-65, 74-78
Films, 9, 19-22
Fuel, 7, 133
Furer, Rear Admiral J. A., 8 5, 113
Germany, 40, 108, 118, 129-130
Groves, General, 103
Health, 42-46, 62, 139, 180
Heating, 6, 11, 12
Hunsaker, Dr. J. C., 113
Infantry, 9S
Interim Committee, 102
Inventions, 10, 56, 151, 161-162, 165-167
Japan, 40, 126
Jewett, Dr. Frank B., 112, 123
Joint Chiefs fo Staff, 85, 99
Joint Committee on New Weapons, 85
Lenses, 4, 19-20
Luftwaffe, 128
Malthus, 141
Manhattan Engineer District, 102, 105
Medicine, 39, 45-49, 59, 77, 135-136
Memex, 31-35

Military Policy Committee, 102
Moe Committee, 59, 64
Monopoly, 161-162
National Academy of Sciences, 50, 72, 75, 99,
113, 123
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, SI,
67, 81, 99, 113, 120
National Defense Research Committee, 102, 111115, 118, 120-121
National Inventors Council, 120-121
National Patent Planning Commission, 57
National Research Council, 123, 158
National Research Foundation, 74-75, 77-81
National Science Reserve, 65
Navy, 51, 67-68, 72-73, 83-85, 91, 95, 99, 107,
111-113, 116-120, 124
New Developments Division, War Dept., 84
Office for Emergency Management, 113
Office of Coordinator of Research Development,
Navy Dept., 84
Office of Production Research and Development,
113, 122-123
Office of Scientific Research and Development, 51,
66-68, 79-80, 84, 97, 99, 102, 110-117,
119-121, 123-124
Patents, 56-57 78, 151-169
Patent Office, 152-157, 163, 166-168
Pearl Harbor, 82
Penicillin, 40, 45, 47, 126
Photocells, 18-19, 21, 25, 30, 34, 37
Photography, 18-22, 30-31, 33
Physics, 1, 16, 25
Planning, 86-88, 90, 100, 111
Poulsen, 31
Progress, 14, 66, 71, 87, 94, 113, 117, 150
Professions, 132-143, 170
Radar, 40, 50-51, 89, 172
Radio, 5, 19, 24, 37, 41
Research Board for National Security, 72-73, 98
Richards, Dr. A. Newton, 113
Rockets, 172
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 2, 39-40, 46
Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, 123
Royal Air Force, 118
Scholarships, 60, 64-65, 74-78
Science Advisory Board, 5 5
Security, 16, 39, 42, 50, 53, 66, 101, 116, 121
Selection techniques, 28
Selection tube, 31
Smith Captain Lybrand P., 112
Stewart, Dr. Irvin, 113
Stimson, Henry L., 124
Sulfa drugs, 45
Sulphonamides, 126
Technology, 59, 61, 68, 82, 86, 92, 125
Telephone, 5, 19, 29
Television, 10, 21
Thermal insulation, 6, 11
Thermionic tube, 30, 36
Tolman, Dr. Richard C., 112
Truman, President, 104
United Nations, 40, 104-105, 171, 177-178
United Kingdom, 125, 128
Universities, 43, 48-49, 53-54, 58, 63-64, 69-73,
91, 97, 111, 114, 117, 127
Uranium, 102
Vocoder, 23-24
War Department, 103, 112, 113, 124
Warfare, 82, 84, 88, 92, 108, 129
War Production BoarA, 113, 123
Weapons, 82, 86-94, 99, 101, 106-108, 110,
114-117, 119-123, 148, 171
Williams, Major General C. C., 12
Wilson Committee, 98


'A .