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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

2 - NSF and Broader Impacts


Prior to World War II there was no NSF, and basic science was funded by a variety of sources, including industry and private philanthropy. It was clear that, with World War II raging in Europe, the United States would be drawn into conflict, and scientific research would have to help the war effort (e.g., Conant, 2002). During these years, US Senator Harley Kilgore tried on several occasions to sponsor legislation that would create NSF, but he did not succeed in moving this through the legislative process in Congress. As we learned in the previous chapter, at the request of President Roosevelt, Vannevar Bush’s (1945) Science: The Endless Frontier forcefully described the importance of science and technology and its impact on the United States, both domestically and in the international arena. This report provided a vision and blueprint for NSF.