The President's Scientists: Reminiscences of a White House Science Advisor

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The President's Scientists: Reminiscences of a White House Science Advisor

By D. Allan Bromley
Yale University Press, 1994
273 pp. $30.00

Bromley served as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Bush administration. As such he follows in a long line of physicists who have served as advisors to presidents since the early days of the Cold War. Now, as Bromley makes clear, their task is very different from what it once was (one of his predecessors told him, for example, that he had to explain repeatedly why satellites do not simply fall to earth). The book's range -- from health care to foreign policy, environmental matters to conflicts of jurisdiction with the Office of Management and Budget -- indicates the greatly increased scope of science in contemporary presidential decision-making. As Bromley also points out, however, Washington now boasts a far wider array of agencies and organizations that bring science to bear on current policy questions than when the office of presidential advisor for science was first founded. The book originated in a series of lectures at Yale and, although necessarily superficial in parts, is a useful introduction to its subject.

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