The Scientific War Work of Linus C. Pauling Narrative  
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The Future
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Pauling and the other members of the Palmer Committee met only a handful of times before drafting a recommendation to Bush. The committee concluded that no existing federal agency would be able to assign grants without some degree of bias according to specialization. As a result, Palmer's group advocated the creation of a new agency supporting scientists from different fields of medicine and governed by medical experts spanning multiple fields.

Bush was troubled by the committee's assumption that a separate organization should be created to oversee and fund medical research. Bush's career had been severely complicated by the lack of cooperation between Washington's many bureaucracies. His role in the OSRD, in fact, had been almost entirely devoted to managing cross-agency communication and support, a task that often required him to go toe-to-toe with politicians, scientists, and military men alike. As a result, he was wary of adding yet another cog to an already complicated system of organizations. Bush saw science as a unified field with each area deserving attention and funding. A single, independent medical organization didn't fit into his vision and so he took the best of the Palmer Committee's ideas - the governing body of experienced researchers - and combined them with his own ideas and those of his other colleagues and created a document that effectively changed the future of science.

In July 1945, Bush completed his final draft of "Science: The Endless Frontier." In his treatise, Bush argued that World War II had ushered in a new era for science. The government funding of large-scale research, now known as big science, had made apparent a new way to approach scientific problems. Better funding and bigger staffs meant fast results. It was an exciting thought. Researchers at universities across the country had traditionally spent much of their time scrambling for grants and struggling to beat out competing researchers for what little money there was. World War II had demonstrated to them just how far government support could take a project. In the post-war era, the world had a new understanding of just how much scientists could affect history.

President Roosevelt, at whose behest Bush had originally created the document, passed away in June of that year. Undeterred, Bush delivered his findings to Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman, recommending the creation of a National Research Foundation (NRF).

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Audio Clip  Audio: The Palmer Committee, October 16, 1992. (1:18) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Telegram from Linus Pauling to Homer W. Smith. March 6, 1945. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Ava Helen Pauling. April 12, 1945. 

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Harry S. Truman, 1945.


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Letter from Linus Pauling to Vannevar Bush. July 20, 1945.

"I thank you for you letter...and the copy of your report to the President. You may be assured that I shall do everything possible to stimulate consideration of the matter presented in your report by local groups in this section of the country. I am, as you know, in whole-hearted agreement with the recommendations which you make."

Linus Pauling
July 20, 1945
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