Shaping Biology: The National Science Foundation and American Biological Research, 1945-1975 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Historians of the postwar transformation of science have focused largely on the physical sciences, especially the relation of science to the military funding agencies. In Shaping Biology, Toby A. Appel brings attention to the National Science Foundation and federal patronage of the biological sciences. Scientists by training, NSF biologists hoped in the 1950s that the new agency would become the federal government's chief patron for basic research in biology, the only agency to fund the entire range of ...

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Shaping Biology: The National Science Foundation and American Biological Research, 1945-1975

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Overview

Historians of the postwar transformation of science have focused largely on the physical sciences, especially the relation of science to the military funding agencies. In Shaping Biology, Toby A. Appel brings attention to the National Science Foundation and federal patronage of the biological sciences. Scientists by training, NSF biologists hoped in the 1950s that the new agency would become the federal government's chief patron for basic research in biology, the only agency to fund the entire range of biology—from molecules to natural history museums—for its own sake. Appel traces how this vision emerged and developed over the next two and a half decades, from the activities of NSF's Division of Biological and Medical Sciences, founded in 1952, through the cold war expansion of the 1950s and 1960s and the constraints of the Vietnam War era, to its reorganization out of existence in 1975. This history of NSF highlights fundamental tensions in science policy that remain relevant today: the pull between basic and applied science; funding individuals versus funding departments or institutions; elitism versus distributive policies of funding; issues of red tape and accountability.

In this NSF-funded study, Appel explores how the agency developed, how it worked, and what difference it made in shaping modern biology in the United States. Based on formerly untapped archival sources as well as on interviews of participants, and building upon prior historical literature, Shaping Biology covers new ground and raises significant issues for further research on postwar biology and on federal funding of science in general.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Most histories of the National Science Foundation focus on the physical sciences, especially as they pertain to military development. However, at one time the NSF supported substantial biological research too, and biologists hoped it would serve as a permanent source of funding for the whole range of biological studies<-->from molecules to natural history museums. Appel examines the path it eventually took, from its conception in 1952 as the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences, through the Cold War expansion to its eventual reorganization out of existence in 1975, tracing themes still critical for science today, including the battle between pure and applied sciences, the distribution of funding, and bureaucracy and accountability. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Annals of Science
This is one of those rare books that historians and sociologists of science will use for a very long time as a valuable resource... Toby A. Appel's is a compelling and important story, written with a sense of humor and humanity.
Science
Appel has done a remarkable job. No subsequent historical work on NSF and the biological sciences can begin without building on the solid foundation she provides in Shaping Biology.

— James E. Strick

Journal of the History of Biology
Toby Appel does a thorough, scholarly job of bringing to life... the National Science Foundation.

— James P. Collins

Politics by Science
This path-breaking book on the National Science Foundation (NSF) represents the first detailed empirical study of this agency in the making of 'policy' for the life sciences in the United States since 1945.

— Nicolas Rasmussen

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Based on previously unexamined archival sources, Appel's analysis is clearly presented and well documented. She provides critical policy context for NSF decisions in biology by discussing their elevance to NIH, other federal agencies, and both national and international political events.

— Victoria A. Harden

Science - James E. Strick
Appel has done a remarkable job. No subsequent historical work on NSF and the biological sciences can begin without building on the solid foundation she provides in Shaping Biology.
Journal of the History of Biology - James P. Collins
Toby Appel does a thorough, scholarly job of bringing to life... the National Science Foundation.
Politics by Science - Nicolas Rasmussen
This path-breaking book on the National Science Foundation (NSF) represents the first detailed empirical study of this agency in the making of 'policy' for the life sciences in the United States since 1945.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences - Victoria A. Harden
Based on previously unexamined archival sources, Appel's analysis is clearly presented and well documented. She provides critical policy context for NSF decisions in biology by discussing their elevance to NIH, other federal agencies, and both national and international political events.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801873478
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 408
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Toby A. Appel is Historical Librarian with the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, and research associate of the Section of History of Medicine.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Envisioning a Federal Patron for Biology 1
Ch. 1 Making a Place for Biology at the "Endless Frontier," 1945-1950 9
Ch. 2 Fashioning a New Federal Patron for Biology, 1950-1952 38
Ch. 3 Expanding and Experimenting in the 1950s 68
Ch. 4 Government Relations and Policy-making in the Cold War Era 101
Ch. 5 Competing within a Pluralist Federal Funding System, 1952-1963 130
Ch. 6 Funding Individuals and Institutions in the 1960s: Opportunities and Constraints 154
Ch. 7 Promoting Big Biology: Biotrons, Boats, and National Biological Laboratories 178
Ch. 8 Allocating Resources to a Divided Science: The "New" and the "Old" in Biology 207
Ch. 9 Forging New Directions after the Golden Age, 1968-1972 235
Ch. 10 End of an Era, 1972-1975 269
App. A Program Officers, 1951-1975, Division of Biological and Medical Sciences 277
App. B Members of Divisional and Advisory Committees, Biological and Medical Sciences, 1952-1972 285
Notes 289
Note on NSF Primary Sources 369
Index 373
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