Dr. Jerome Friedman, President, American Physical Society
Dr. Edel Wasserman, President, American Chemical Society
Dr. Felix Browder, President, American Mathematical Society
Dr. William Brinkley, President, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
We appreciate the opportunity to address you jointly in support of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) FY 2000 budget. By providing joint testimony--the second year we have done so--we are emphasizing that the scientific disciplines have grown highly interdependent. Consequently, we must continue to raise the funding levels of all areas of science to improve the health of our people, to sustain economic growth, and to enhance quality of life.
My colleagues will briefly elaborate on this theme, beginning with Dr. Wasserman.
Fifty years ago, the National Science Foundation was created to achieve such a goal with a specific mandate: to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. The Foundation's success in carrying out this mission has helped the United States to become the world leader in science, technology, and engineering. The returns on our investment have been enormous.
Consider just a few examples. Since the end of World War II, more than half of our economic growth has come from technology and scientific innovation. In recent years, economists tell us that the number may be closer to 70 percent. They also tell us that the annual payback ranges from 25 to 60 percent on every dollar invested in basic research. Finally, a recent survey of American business showed that 73 percent of the citations in patent applications referenced publicly supported research.
In an era in which more than three quarters of stock-market capitalization is in technology issues, we can ill afford to disregard our investments in the sciences which drive this sector of the market. That is where Americans have placed their retirement trust. We must deliver on their expectations.
My colleague, Felix Browder will continue.
While the Foundation's share of the FY 1999 federal budget amounts to a little more than 0.2 percent, the agency has had a powerful impact on U.S. science since its inception in 1950. An impressive percentage of American Nobel laureates have been recipients of NSF support: about 50 percent of all laureates in chemistry and physics, 60 percent in economics, and 30 percent in medicine and physiology. NSF has also supported approximately 45 percent of world-wide recipients of the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Beyond this, the agency has played a major role in the development of the Internet, which generated revenues of about US$7 billion in 1998, with an increase to US$40 billion expected by 2002.
Dr. William Brinkley will conclude our testimony.
NSF has had an outstanding history of achievement, one of which all Americans can be proud. We thank you for your past support, and we urge you to maintain your committee's commitment to one of our nation's most important institutions. Thank you for according us the time to appear before you today.