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I do think there is a tremendous need to do something to help these areas. But the initiative has to come from the local people. They must have cores of good academic institutions, good industry. But I think the Federal Government is the only source of the large measure of support for programs needed so that these second-tier institutions can become better. As I said, we tried very hard in Science Foundation and other budgets to provide funds for these purposes. The schools need them and other areas need them.
On the other hand, I am extremely concerned lest the quality of the performance of the institution should be ignored in the choice of location for the work you are trying to get done. In other words, if you want to have an airplane developed, I think you must give major consideration to the quality of the proposal and the quality of the staff of the organization that is going to do it.
If you receive proposals that are comparable, then I think that it is quite appropriate for one to consider the welfare of the areas involved in addition. I am just saying that I believe one must pay some considerable attention to the ability of the institution expected to do the work.
We were talking earlier about criticism of NASA, which I have heard, too, that it was not able to absorb
Senator SYMINGTON. No; the criticism was not of NASA ; but of the scientific and engineering—of the money the Federal Government is putting into scientific and engineering development. It was made by one of the most successful businessmen of the United States, who also is a great scientist, a former president of one of the leading scientific organizations in the world. He did not localize it against NASA at all
. He simply said we are putting too much money into basic research and applied research in the universities, more than we can handle. It had nothing to do with NASA. If you want to localize his criticism against any particular organization, I would pick the National Science Foundation.
Dr. WIESNER. Well, the National Science Foundation is putting in a relatively small amount of money into universities as against
Senator SYMINGTON. He feels the amount of Federal money going into the scientific educational field every quarter, including the military, and NASA, and NSF, all these other organizations; he believes you are choking the would-be patient. I want to make that clear. It was not a criticism against NASA.
Dr. WIESNER. I was going to make a different point. This has to do with whether the total space budget was growing so rapidly that it could not be absorbed. I would say there are many, many very able organizations still with capability to work for NASA. I also know that there are many academic institutions—large and small-that are inadequately supported. Now, maybe this gentleman believes the Nation should not be growing as fast as it is developing. Senator SYMINGTON. No; I do not think that would be a conclusion, Dr. WIESNER. You know the institutions in St. Louis better than I.
Senator SYMINGTON. Incidentally, I come from Missouri, not just from St. Louis.
Dr. WIESNER. I do not know the whole State, but I do know their academic institutions.
Senator SYMINGTON. I was surprised to see how little support the National Science Foundation had on the floor yesterday. I voted for the National Science Foundation increase of $50 million on the floor.
On the other hand, if you take your point 3, the only place we can start is in things like the National Science Foundation, which, incidentally, does not give my State anything commensurate to what it deserves from the standpoint of its population and productive capacity.
In addition, you will find that in Missouri, we have great universities graduating Ph. D.'s in research; at least in proportion to population as many Ph. D.'s as any other part of the country. I do not see what the out is if you are going to reward the places that already have so much business. I do not know the details in other States, but I do know in mine we are entirely capable of absorbing it. But we do not get it; so how are we going to start?
Dr. WIESNER. I do not have the figures, Senator, but I do agree with you about the competence of your institutions. They do meet the criteria I have established; namely, that they should be first-rate programs.
Now, if they are not receiving their fair share of support, I can not explain it.
Senator SYMINGTON. All these matters, especially a person in your position would agree, depend to a great extent on education. And your answer to the criticism of the NASA program on the part of scientists, they would not criticize it if they knew what they were talking about. That is, they know what they are talking about scientifically, but they do not know what they are talking about from the standpoint of the political and diplomatic position of this country in the world; nor about defense requirements necessarly; especially if we are going to continue to bank freedom around the world in the future as we have in the past. You, because of your present position, do know about those problems as well as the scientific problem.
How are we going to educate these men ?
Dr. WIESNER. First of all, I think it is probably true that the fraction of scientists who criticize the space program is no greater than the fraction of Senators.
Senator SYMINGTON. Well, you elevate us quite a lot, right there.
THE GREAT BULK OF SCIENTISTS HAVE NOT BEEN OUTSPOKEN AGAINST THE
Dr. WIESNER. The great bulk of the scientific community has not been outspoken against the space program. As a matter of fact, a great many outstanding scientists have publicly supported the program. It is just that, as I have learned in the last day, criticism and you know this as well as I—criticism and controversy receive much more attention than statements that are made in support of a program.
The problem is not only one of educating the scientists but of making the whole community understand, as much as we can, the motives that we have in supporting these programs.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think that a very good answer, and appreciate it.
Mr. Chairman, I have some other questions but already have taken too much time.
The CHAIRMAN. You go ahead, Senator Symington, if you wish. I think this is a very good witness and we ought to get as much information as we can while we have him here.
Senator SYMINGTON. Then I will proceed a little more, if I may, especially because of my respect for the witness. He has been a friend for
many years. As I understand it, Doctor, you feel that the Soviets are graduating a good many more engineers and scientists than we are in the United States. Is that correct?
Dr. WIESNER. That is right.
Senator SYMINGTON. How do their qualifications, when they are graduated, compare with ours when ours are graduated? In other words, are these figures of quantity also interpreted in quality, or only partially interpreted ?
Dr. WIESNER. It is really very hard for me to make a statement that I would defend in great detail, but let me tell you my impressions.
I think that it is generally felt that the very best of the Soviet scientists are as well trained as the very best we produce. It is my impression that they do not have as many first-rate institutions as we have that is, the quality of their academic institutions, I think, drops rather more rapidly than ours.
I think they train more applied scientists than we do. What little I saw of that education when I was in the Soviet Union in 1960 appeared to be very good. My impression is that their engineering education is inferior to ours, but I saw. not enough for that to be an affirmed judgment.
Senator SYMINGTON. To help me out, would you put it into the categories of basic research and applied research?
Dr. WIESNER. Yes. I think their very best people in basic research are as well trained as ours. I think we train more people for basic research of high quality than they do, but this is not something I can support with statistics.
They train vast numbers of engineers and their training ranges from extremely good education to something that I would say is the equivalent of what we used to provide in our engineering schools 30 and 40 years ago, and I do not know how the proportions are distributed here.
They do, I believe, train many, many more people as applied scientists than we train specifically for that purpose. These people are better trained than the comparable engineers they might replace. The Soviet undergraduate program is a 5-year program, so it has that extra year that I said earlier is so important for engineers.
Incidentally, Dr. Wenk reminds me that the Soviet Union has a total of 28,000 Ph. D.’s in engineering and we have a total of 9,000.
Senator SYMINGTON. Is that on an annual basis?
Dr. WIESNER. No; this is an integrated total of people with engineering Ph. D. degrees. You see, in this country there have not been many engineers graduated with Ph. D.'s.
Senator SYMINGTON. Would you repeat those figures again?
Dr. WIESNER. 28,000 Ph. D. engineers in the U.S.S.R., 9,000 in the United States.
Senator SYMINGTON. Could you take those figures to determine that they have over three times as many highly qualified engineers in this field as we do? Dr. WIESNER. People with the advanced training; yes. I would
not want to make a judgment about the qualifications of the people. This is why we are stressing the importance of graduate training in the Science Foundation, NDEA, and NASA programs.
One very bad shortcoming in the Soviet education is that they do research and teaching in separate institutions. Teaching is done under the Ministry of Higher Education, even graduate teaching, and research is supported and administered primarily by their Soviet Academy of Science, which operates a number of superb research institutes. But this tends to mean that the research in universities is second rate as compared to research in their institutes. Also they do not have that intimate relationship between advanced teaching and research which I think is so valuable in education. I think the Soviet scientists and educators are aware of this problem, but it is a bureaucratic problem they must contend with.
Senator SYMINGTON. I agree. The president of Stanford University once sent me a book. I found by reading that book that the Russian Academy of Sciences was a prosperous, growing, federally subsidized institution 50 years before the Constitution of the United States was signed. Any idea they are backward in these fields has not been verified by fact; has it?
Dr. WIESNER. No; they have very many, very great and very distinguished scientists.
My own general feeling is that their scientists, for a variety of reasons, have not been able to be as productive yet as ours. I think they still suffer the consequences of the Stalin period and I think they suffered very badly during World War II. They have had a tremendous task to build up a country of young scientists with experience as a result of those two very distressing periods that they have lived through.
I think they have not yet met their full potential. I think Soviet capabilities in science are going to be tremendous in a few more years.
DISCUSSION OF MILITARY NEED FOR SPACE DEVELOPMENT
Senator SYMINGTON. My final question, because I do not want to take too much time. The NASA program was attacked, and a very deep cut was proposed, on the ground that there was no real military need for this type or character of space development. If what you say is true, and we continue to emphasize the importance of conventional capacity, which I certainly would never underrate, and at the same time let them continue to develop this lead that you tell us this morning they have in the more modern approaches to the latest medium of operation, namely, space; then it would only be a question of time before militarily we would be in trouble. Is that not a fair statement?
Dr. WIESNER. I do not recall making any statements about our relative positions in space.
Senator SYMINGTON. I did not say that. You spoke about our relative position, with their having 28,000 Ph. D.'s and I think we had 9,000.
Dr. WIESNER. I think the United States is superior in science and technology in almost all fields today, so I do not want to leave a misimpression.
Senator SYMINGTON. I understand that, but my point is you just told us that they have many more Ph. D.'s in science than we have, over three times more, to be exact
Dr. WIESNER. No; in engineering.
Senator SYMINGTON. And that also they are graduating a great deal more than we. You, yourself, are interested in seeing more money go into things like the National Science Foundation.
With that background, my question is, inasmuch as you defended some of the scientific thinking on the grounds that they did not get the broad-brush scope of the military and political and diplomatic implications, if we do not increase their education, we could find ourselves in military trouble at some future date. Is that a fair extrapolation?
Dr. WIESNER. I will not say we will, but it is conceivable that we could. I think one of the important reasons for undertaking a hard driving space program is that if a military potential develops, we would not be second. I think this is one of the very important motivations for exploring space. No one today can specify a large number of important manned military space activities or even one. But this could well be our lack of vision. It is my own strong feeling that while any other nation in the world is working aggressively in these fields, it would be foolhardy for us not to.
Senator SYMINGTON. Your answer prompts me to ask one more question. Do you feel, to date, there is no military requirement in space!
Dr. WIESNER. No; I would not say that.
Dr. WIESNER. I think we employ space in many ways alreadycommunications, meteorological studies, many others. However, many of us feel that there are no demonstrated uses for man in space and that many of the proposed space missions are things which might be better done by other ways. We are developing capabilities and developing large boosters and manned space capabilities and so on that are in excess of our ability to visualize in use. Uses may emerge, but at the moment, I would say that the capabilities exceed the known military needs.
But I do not believe for a moment that this is an argument for not doing these exploratory developments in a very aggressive way. I would certainly not counsel that the United States remain several years behind the Soviet Union in large booster capability. Even though I say that I cannot now visualize the uses for them. I think this would be taking an undue risk.
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator SMITH. Mr. Chairman, before Dr. Wiesner leaves, I am not sure the last two pages, the two charts attached to his statement, were included in the record.
I would like to move that they be received.