A candid and often humorous discussion between Hackerman and Ashworth on the problems scientists and society will face with reductions in government financial support for research, or with restrictive government directives. In dialogue that is accessible to laymen and policy makers, the authors explain why scientific research must be allowed to continue unfettered and undirected if humankind is to accrue its full benefits. In the United States, the universities are the sole source of scientists and engineers. . . . That alone should tell our political leaders . . . how essential it is for them to provide support for the universities in order to generate and promote economic development and vitality. The universities provide the adequately educated scientists and engineers, and without them a society does not have the slightest chance--short of accidentally running across a diamond mine or gold mine or another thirty trillion barrels of oil--of remaining in the economic race.
Norman Hackerman is President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Rice University, and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Kenneth Ashworth, currently the commissioner of higher education for Texas, has also served as Vice Chancellor for The University of Texas System.