By Jon D. Miller
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Extra resources for The American People and Science Policy. The Role of Public Attitudes in the Policy Process
It is important to understand that most of this increase in funding was not directly related to the development of space vehicles or even space-related research, but rather the competition engendered by the Sputnik challenge resulted in an increased awareness of scientific activities generally. For example, the Sputnik launch was a sufficient threat to the international dominance of American science that long-term programs like the National De fense Education Act were adopted to finance improved science education in elementary and high schools so as to provide for more competent scientists in the next generation.
In the years immediately after the war, major structural and procedural agreements were developed that provided for the substantive independence of science and for the public support of this work. This basic ''contract" reflected a high degree of public and political confidence that science supervised by scientists alone would produce beneficial results for the broader community. The Sputnik challenge to the preeminence of American science led to a decade of major funding increases for science and technology generally.
The final bill did follow the Bush position on patents in large part. By 1950, then, the structure for govemment support for basic science was in place. In contrast to the wariness of the scientific community toward the govemment only 10 years eariier, a majority of the active researchers in the scientific community were now ready to accept federal support and to participate in the distribution of that support through an intricate set of peer review com mittees and councils. The scientific community had achieved, in figurative terms, a ''contract" that provided for public support for their work without any extemal controls over the substance of that work.
The American People and Science Policy. The Role of Public Attitudes in the Policy Process by Jon D. Miller