« PreviousContinue »
quality. But then the additional question of need was raised, and in earlier testimony I said that while
this should be a factor in the consideration, it should be left to individual institutions rather than to impose a Federal Government regulation concerning need.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much. I would not wish to have you repeat that.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Symington ?
DISCUSSION OF PROPORTION OF ADVANCED DEGREES IN ENGINEERING AND
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am sorry I was not here for all of Dr. Wiesner's testimony, but one of my constituents was up for confirmation as Assistant Secretary of one of the services; and I was over there.
Doctor, I would like to ask some questions against points that you have made in your statement which I have now read.
As usual, it is a thoughtful and thought-provoking statement, typical of the way you look at these matters.
You have these three educational issues which you say generate more heat than light. First, you surprise me with your very interesting figures, because there is so much talk amout the humanities suffering as a result of the emphasis on scientific and technical knowledge.
Dr. WIESNER. Mr. Senator, the humanities may suffer even though the enrollment numbers do not reflect it, because of the relatively high cost of scientific and technical education.
Senator SYMINGTON. Your statement seems to negate much of that criticism. To be sure I understand, on page 12, you use a percentage figure—"whereas about 68 percent.” I would ask, 68 percent of what? Dr. WIESNER. Of the people receiving Ph. D. degrees. Let me make sure I am answering the right question. Senator SYMINGTON. The third line on page 12.
Dr. WIESNER. Of all Ph. D.’s receiving degrees in our institutions of higher learning.
Senator SYMINGTON. Whereas about 68 percent received Ph. D. degrees in engineering and science. Now only 63 percent of all Ph. D.'s are in engineering and science—is that right?
Dr. WIESNER. That is right. There has always been a heavy emphasis on Ph. D.'s in science in the graduate schools, anyway. Many of the humanities do not have active graduate programs. These numbers do not include M.D.'s.
Senator SYMINGTON. Does not include medicine, right?
Senator SYMINGTON. If there is any reservation on it, inasmuch as I intend to use that figure, I wish you would let me know.
Dr. WIESNER. We will doublecheck it.
(More comprehensive information was submitted for the record as follows:)
TABLE 3.-Ph. D. degrees earned in the United States, 1900-62
! Includes biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences.
: Includes chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and other engineering fields. 3 Includes education, business and commerce, humanities and arts, and other fields.
NOTE.--All degrees in medicine (dentistry, M.D., optometry, osteopathy, veterinary medicine) have been excluded from the figures presented.
Source: Science Resources Planning Office, National Science Foundation,
TABLE 4.-Bachelor's degrees earned in the United States, 1900–62
1 Includes biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physical sciences and physics, psychology, and social sciences.
3 Includes chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, aeronautical, agricultural, architectural, and other engineering fields and military science.
3 Includes business and commerce, education, humanities and arts, other fields. Source: Science Resources Planning Office, National Science Foundation,
Senator SYMINGTON. It is a pertinent figure.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that the amount of knowledge required has increased. Would that be so? In other words, one of the reasons you dropped from 68 percent to 63 percent might be an essential difficulty of digesting what is necessary now as against what used to be necessary
in these fields? Dr. WIESNER. Yes; or it may reflect a greater emphasis on research in the humanities, fields like history and other fields. I do not really know how you would account for it. It is really not a major change. It is a small change. But the important thing you derive from it is the fact that at least a number of people doing graduate work in these scientific fields has not risen faster than the total population in the graduate schools. I think this is very significant.
As a matter of fact I did not appreciate that myself until these gentlemen presented me with these figures in preparation for this testimony.
DISCUSSION OF PROGRAM AND MANPOWER NEEDS IN THE FUTURE
Senator SYMINGTON. The reason I ask is that some of the eminent scientists around where I live feel that we are moving too far and too fast and that we cannot digest what we are already doing in this field.
There is a good deal of discussion around the country that you cannot absorb this amount with any efficiency; therefore, it would be better not to have so much invested in the program at this time.
Inasmuch as that comes from some of the ablest men in the technical and scientific field, I would appreciate your comments.
Dr. WIESNER. I think we have to separate the basic research support that NSF, NIH, NASA and others sponsor from the “big science” programs, because I think they entail different problems. In the National Science Foundation program in which I know you are interested and in which we had built in very substantial increases, we were attempting to make sure we can meet the requirements in the next decade for scientific and technical manpower.
If you continually create big new development programs and at the same time refuse to support basic research and graduate education for the training of a sufficient number of professional people, then you are certainly not going to be able to manage your large development programs effectively. A long-range approach is required.
Now I do not know whether this is fully understood. We know that there are many, many people in universities in the country capable of doing good research that are not supported, and we can document this. Part of the National Science Foundation budget was to increase the support that we give to the academic institutions for graduate research. A very major part of it was for fellowship and grant programs to make it possible to go from 2,900 Ph. D.'s we are turning out this year to the 7,500 we feel we will need annually by 1970. If we do not fund it, we shall not have the kind of people to do the work we want to do.
We wanted to try to do some experimenting, which we thought the whole Congress would have sympathetically supported by undertaking an institutional development program. We believe if you are going to train
Senator SYMINGTON. May I interrupt you to say we only got 20 votes yesterday when before the Senate.
WE NEED TO MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF FIRST-RATE SCIENTIFIC AND
ENGINEERING GRADUATE SCHOOLS
Dr. WIESNER. We believe that, for several reasons, we need to multiply the number of first-rate scientific and engineering graduate schools in the country. First of all, the institutions that exist cannot turn out this larger number of graduate students that we are asking for without really getting overloaded. We would like to see 20 more first-rate institutions.
Secondly, it has become increasingly clear that the economic welfare of an area is intimately related today to having first-rate technological, scientific institutions nearby. We think there are areas in the country today that deserve to have some assistance in building up the nucleus of competence already there.
Senator SYMINGTON. That is your third point. I will get to that later.
Dr. WIESNER. But some of the money we are talking about—the money in the Science Foundation request—was to help us develop these new programs.
I think it is shortsighted to support increasing amounts of applied work and create an increasing demand for highly skilled manpower and then not lay down the foundation for the training of the people you are going to need. It takes 7 to 10 years to train a person of the kind we are talking about.
IF WE ARE TO ACHIEVE GOALS, WE MUST PROVIDE THE MONEY Senator SYMINGTON. Let me be sure. Yesterday we had criticism of the NASA budget, of the rate of increase in the amount of money required. I am afraid some of the people in the discussion yesterday did not really understand-it is logical that your expenses increase very heavily when you go into the production of a program of this character.
I was wondering, therefore, if you feel there is serious danger in not going ahead with the scope of that NASA budget; and if SO,
if you blame that primarily on the relative progress that you say in your statement today the Soviet Communists are making in this field.
Dr. WIESNER. I would not like to try to guess at the motivations that have caused people to think our space budget is too high. I would just say, that the NASA budget is scrutinized very hard by everybody in the White House and Mr. Webb is made to defend most of the items very vigorously. I am sure he will tell you that this does not represent his first request to the President, either. He has had to conform to the budgetary realities.
If we intend to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves in this field, I think we have to be prepared to provide the money. The worst thing we can do is keep repeating that we have those goals and kill the appropriations necessary for their attainment.
DR. WIESNER SUPPORTS LUNAR PROJECT
Senator SYMINGTON. I assume you are 100 percent for the lunar project ?
Dr. WIESNER. Yes; I am for the project.
Senator SYMINGTON. Are you 100 percent for the celerity with which it is being conducted today?
Dr. WIESNER. Until the President changes his goals, until the Nation changes its goals, we have to have the drive, the speed, of the program we have
today. Senator SYMINGTON. I am not asking what the President thinks, because we get an opportunity to look at that every time he sends a message down. There have been some indications you think we have been moving too fast.
Dr. WIESNER. No; I have never said that. I have had some arguments about the direction in which we are going.
I participated in the President's decision to go to the moon at this pace. .
Senator SYMINGTON. And you think this decision is right?
Dr. WIESNER. Yes. But many of my colleagues in the scientific community judge it purely on its scientific merit. I think if I were being asked whether this much money should be spent purely for scientific reasons, I would say emphatically, "No." I think they fail to recognize the deep military implications, the very important political significance of what we are doing and the other important factors that influenced the President when he made his decision.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think that a fine answer. What you are saying is if you embrace science, it may be going too fast. If you embrace the political implications, our image, our posture in the world, and also the military significance of the space program, you feel that we should proceed on the present level, is that correct?
Dr. WIESNER. That is right; yes, indeed.
Senator SYMINGTON. Have you any suggestions about any changes incident to the current status and setup between the military and the NASA organization or your own organization?
Dr. WIESNER. I do not think I should talk about those matters Senator Symington, because that is an area in which I function as a confidential adviser to the President.
Senator SYMINGTON. So you feel that under executive prerogative, you do not want to discuss that this morning.
Dr. WIESNER. That is right; yes.
DISCUSSION OF DEVELOPMENT AND LOCATION OF UNIVERSITIES
Senator SYMINGTON. All right, sir.
Now, I am a little puzzled by the apprehension you have of limiting the Federal assistance to only the needy. There is a saying that he who has gets. That is certainly true with respect to some of the leading universities, Stanford, MIT. I notice we put up $10 million to help our desert area, that part of the country you mentioned once in a previous talk. I am sure you were quoted out of context. But then we take the first 30 percent of that and put it back in MIT. I thought that that $10 million was going to try to help us in certain areas get what you say is necessary in order to later on get economic benefit from the standpoint of Government work. Yet it went right back to where you already have so much.
How would you interpret your problem? How would you interpret need from a technical standpoint in cases of that character?
Dr. WIESNER. As I said earlier, there is a great need to do something about many of these areas. Even when I made the statement about problems in the Midwest that brought me so much notoriety, it was not this statement that was attributed to me. I think everybody realizes that there is a very serious problem in many parts of the country, like the Midwest area. You see, when I was a boy, I grew up in Michigan and I never regarded it as the Midwest-I regard St. Louis as the Midwest. People in St. Louis attributed what I said to St. Louis, but my definition of the Midwest was intended to be more limited.
Senator SYMINGTON. You are going a little fast for me.
Dr. WIESNER. In my discussion of what the problems in the Midwest were, my reference did not include St. Louis. That is what I was trying to say.