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Richard L. Garwin

Richard L. Garwin
IBM Fellow Emeritus at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center,
Yorktown Heights, NY

Talk Title: U.S. Science Policy at a Turning Point?


Those of us who  are  involved  day-to-day  in  science  and technology  are  confronted,  perforce, with reality, but in government science policy there are  strong  motivations  to avoid  reality  either  in the formulation of programs or in the analysis of their success.  Some of these problems arise from our democratic  system,  which,  according  to  Winston Churchill  in 1947, is "the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time  to time."    Improved  science policy mechanisms should include the elimination of earmarks for public programs,  especially in  science and technology; the upgrading of the President's Science  Advisor  and  of  his  staff   and   support;   the reconstitution  in  modern guise of an effective President's Science Advisory Committee-- PSAC; and for the  Congress,  a restoration  of  the  highly successful Office of Technology Assessment-- OTA.  The problems that must be faced  squarely are  the  provision for the U.S. government and the Congress of proper analyses of  our  present  societal  problems  and opportunities  and  their  susceptibility to solution by S&T programs.   High among these is the  general  level  of  S&T talent  in  the United States, where our current immigration and visa regulations and practices deny us what used to be a steady stream of talent into the country either in the short term or for graduate  work  in  S&T,  where  the  scientist, mathematician, or engineer would very likely stay to work in the  United States.   Other needed reforms are to change the present emphasis on marginal science and technology to those programs that could really make a difference.  In the  talk, I  provide  some  examples  of  these  problems  and of some rousing successes and how they came about.


Biographical Sketch

Richard L. Garwin was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1928. He received a B.S. in Physics from Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, in 1947, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1949.

He is IBM Fellow Emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York. After three years on the faculty of the University of Chicago, he joined IBM Corporation in 1952, and was until June 1993 IBM Fellow at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York; Adjunct Research Fellow in the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Columbia University. In addition, he is a consultant to the U.S. government on matters of military technology, arms control, etc. He has been Director of the IBM Watson Laboratory, Director of Applied Research at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and a member of the IBM Corporate Technical Committee. He has also been Professor of Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. From 1994 to 2004 he was Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

He has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Group to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff and was in 1998 a Commissioner on the 9-person "Rumsfeld" Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. From 1993 to August 2001, he chaired the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board of the Department of State.  His work for the government has included studies on antisubmarine warfare, new technologies in health care, sensor systems, military and civil aircraft, and satellite and strategic systems, from the point of view of improving such systems as well as assessing existing capabilities.

Excerpted from “The Garwin Archive” [ ], used with permission.