Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the National Science Foundation.

January 16, 1969

To the Congress of the United States:

There has never been a time in our history when scientific research, applied science and the teaching of science were more important than they are today.

Science has become a national concern. It has, therefore, become a concern of government.

The results of scientific investigations affect our personal lives, our social and economic progress, our relations with nations around the globe.

Our lives are touched in a thousand ways by the discoveries of science, in public health, medicine, environmental control, food production, the development of new towns and the redevelopment of old cities.

Both the Congress and the Executive Branch have, over the years, recognized their responsibilities for the support and advancement of science.

Government funds have today become a major source for research, experimentation and improved science teaching in schools and colleges.

The National Science Foundation which has grown in prestige and stature each year is the instrument through which a large share of government funds are channeled to basic scientific endeavors.

The work of NSF has a special importance for government as we seek to enlarge the nation's fund of scientific knowledge as well as its pool of trained scientific manpower.

I am extremely pleased to note that the Congress has recognized the critical role of the National Science Foundation by this year enlarging its mandate to include support for the applied sciences.

In the Fiscal Year which ended June 30, 1968, the Foundation invested $236.5 million in scientific research.

It assisted 6,000 scientists doing research in colleges and universities.

It made grants of $124.8 million to improve science instruction throughout our educational system. Approximately 9,000 students were helped to move up the ladder of science education with fellowships and traineeship grants.

About 41,000 secondary school teachers and 5,000 college instructors were given further training to improve the quality of science education in our schools.

Recognizing the changing needs of science and science education in institutions of higher education, the National Science Foundation has, since 1964, expanded its efforts to develop and improve science capacities at institutions of higher learning. About 500 institutions received approximately $83 million for this purpose in fiscal year 1968. The results were higher quality of instruction, better planning, and an increased ability to attract funds from sources other than the Federal Government.

Special progress was made in the use of electronic computing equipment for education and research. Some 173 grants totaling $22 million were awarded in this area.

Some of the highlights of scientific accomplishment achieved with the aid of NSF grants during the past fiscal year are:

--Improved understanding of the mechanism of light conversion in the eye and the causes of color blindness.

--Development of synthetic DNA, the material which controls the heredity of all living substances.

--The simulation of the evolutionary process in the test tube.

--Improved techniques for studying vaporized metal samples, which will make it possible for metal manufacturers to achieve higher product quality standards.

--New capabilities for the complete laboratory synthesis of wonder drugs like terramycin.

--The discovery of new pulsating radio sources in space which may give us more information about the universe.

I am, therefore, pleased to submit to the Congress the Eighteenth Annual Report of the National Science Foundation for the fiscal year 1968.

Public understanding of science will be increased by the attention given to this story of scientific achievement, management and development.

I commend this report to the Congress as graphic evidence of the scientific and educational progress this Nation must sustain if we are to continue to move forward in the years ahead.


The White House

January 16, 1969

Lyndon B. Johnson, Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the National Science Foundation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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