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In a community where science is both bread and butter, both vocation and avocation, topics like the role and standing of science and scientists in society receive relatively little attention.
Los Alamos scientists are presumably busy working on the nation’s problems, although they themselves most often complain anecdotally that they are working on the bureaucracy’s paperwork. Many continue to find time and resources here and there to chip away at the plentiful mysteries of the natural order. A few have entrepreneurial ambitions that call for a whole other set of skills on top of those demanded in a normal day.
As perhaps at no other time since World War II, the country and the world has high hopes for science to solve enormous problems and for technology to make up ground that has been lost economically and environmentally on every side.
Maybe there is not enough time for peering into the mirror or belly-button staring when you’re involved in heavy theoretical formulations or trying to engineer a difficult component for an experiment.
Fortunately, a number of important questions have been answered, if not settled, in a very timely survey that recently captured scientists’ views of themselves.
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