NSB - NSF 60th Anniversary Events for 2010

Celebrating 60 Years of Discovery Distinguished Lecture Series

The lectures were held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, and they were open to the public.

AAAS Symposium – "The Future of NSF on Its 60th Anniversary"

Click here for an interactive presentation on the AAAS Symosium.

Symposium Participants
Symposium Participants. Left to right, Erich Bloch, Neal Lane, Rita Colwell,
Walter Massey and Arden Bement (Speakers); Patricia Galloway (Moderator); and
Steven Beering (Discussant).

In commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation and the National Science Board, a Symposium, "The Future of NSF on Its 60th Anniversary," was part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Diego on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

The distinguished speakers included the current Director of the National Science Foundation and four former Directors of the National Science Foundation:

  • Rita Colwell – The "Silent Sputnik" Challenge for U.S. Science and Engineering

  • Erich Bloch – NSF and National Research Priorities

  • Neal Lane – NSF: Still Sprinting After 60 Years

  • Walter Massey – Is it Déjà Vu All Over Again? What Have We Learned from the Past?

  • Arden Bement – NSF at 60: The Search, the Service, the Sustainable Future

The speakers represented the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th National Science Foundation Directors, who served from 1984 to the present. Patricia Galloway, NSB Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Task Force on the NSB 60th Anniversary, was the Moderator, and Steven Beering, NSB Chairman, was a Discussant.

This distinguished panel presented their perspectives and advice on what they believe is required for the National Science Foundation to maintain its global leadership in science and engineering as they drew from their previous experiences and discussed the future challenges. The symposium provided an excellent opportunity for the National Science Foundation to highlight its accomplishments during the past 60 years and to discuss with the science community the challenges ahead.

In May of 1950, President Truman signed a new law that "established in the executive branch of the government an independent agency to be known as the National Science Foundation" dedicated to advancing the scientific enterprise. Seven months later, a distinguished group gathered at the White House for the first meeting of the National Science Board.

This beginning in 1950, was a national policy commitment to support excellent basic research and to promote the availability of quality science and engineering education at all levels. In the ensuing decades, the National Science Foundation has had unprecedented opportunities to promote the progress of science and engineering across the frontiers of knowledge and to advance education in science and engineering disciplines.

For six decades, the U.S. has led the world in scientific discovery and innovation. It has attracted the best scientists and engineers to its educational institutions and industries from around the world. In today’s rapidly evolving competitive world, the U.S. can no longer take its supremacy for granted as U.S. scientific excellence and technological innovation are challenged.

As discussed by the panel, the National Science Foundation has played an important part in keeping the U.S. competitive on the global stage in research, education, the technical work force, scientific discovery, and innovation. The maintenance of a competitive and healthy scientific enterprise requires sustained investments and informed policies.

Birthday Cake
Birthday cake for "Celebrating 60 Years of Discovery"

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