Distinguished Speaker Series: Lawrence Husick presents a virtual webinar, "Manhattan, Moonshot, DotCom, and WarpSpeed: US Technology Policy for the 21st Century," at 4 p.m. on Sept. 23.
From 1941 to 1969, the United States leaped ahead of the rest of the world in every area of science and technology. This was no accident. It was the result of both emergency circumstances in World War II and a purposeful set of technology-promoting federal policies crafted by scientists, technocrats, and military leaders in the aftermath of the war, and it was hugely successful. From the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 onward, these policies fell victim to the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate distrust of government, privatization trends, the rise of giant multinational technology companies, and the desire of other countries to leap ahead in technology. The result has been a steady erosion of U.S. technology leadership. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may have exposed some flaws in our national technology policies. Will the U.S. now re-embrace the successful post-WWII model and once again publicly support R&D, using it as a tool of geopolitical strategy?