Download Full Text (2.1 MB)


Since the creation of the National Science foundation in 1950, the federal government has acknowledged and supported the centrality of science and technology to the global competitiveness of the United States. In this important work, historians Alan I Marcus and Amy Sue Bix present illuminating case studies that highlight crucial policy patterns, shifts in emphasis, and debates over future directions of US science and technology policy.

One major theme that emerges from these studies is that universities quickly became the main vehicles through which national science and technology policy was developed. As universities became involved in implementing federal policy, their role as educational institutions inevitably changed.

Other themes include the effect of gender and minority concerns on policy, as well as the application of social science to selecting research agendas and technology initiatives.

Marcus and Bix’s revealing analysis corrects the misperception that federal science and technology policy is solely concerned with defense. They demonstrate that biotechnology, robotics, nanotechnology, and information science have also become potent policy choices in recent years, impacting such diverse areas of society as medicine, agriculture, energy use, economic trends, and homeland security.

Containing a wealth of information and insightful analysis, this comprehensive chronological study will be especially useful for undergraduate readers, while offering much to graduate students and established scholars.



Publication Date:



Prometheus Press


Amherst, New York


History of Science, Technology, and Medicine


This is the introduction and table of contents of The Future is Now: Science and Technology Policy in America Since 1950; Alan I Marcus and Amy Sue Bix, (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books/Prometheus Press, 2007). Posted with permission.

The Future is Now: Science and Technology Policy in America Since 1950