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Addressing myths of science and public policy: Part II

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1 Author(s)
Peckerar, M. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Maryland Univ., College Park, MD, USA

We present an essay on science and public policy in the United States at the onset of the 21st century. Previously, we analyzed the role of "hype", "buzz" and myth in the formation of science policy and resource allocation. On one hand, it was evident that these strategies were necessary to garner requisite public constituencies. On the other, these tactics created unrealistic expectations of end-product value. More seriously, the myths created to describe key agencies in the science economy distorted the role each might play in the process of end-product development. We focus on a single new initiative: the U.S. National Nanosciences Initiative (NNI). There has been a tremendous amount of activity in preface to this new program, as evidenced by its mention in U.S. President Bill Clinton's last State of the Union Address. This year 2000 address advertised a first-year budget allocation of about half-billion dollars. It appears that the NNI may utilize a fair amount of new science resources for the coming decade, and it is an interesting exercise to analyze this project in light of the new roles science, government, and industry have assumed.

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Spring 2004

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