President's Science Advisory Committee
In 1951 President of the United States Harry S. Truman established the Science Advisory Committee as part of the Office of Defense Mobilization (ODM). As a direct response to the launches of the Soviet artificial satellites, Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2, on October 4 and November 3, 1957, the Science Advisory Committee was upgraded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) and moved to the White House on 21 November 1957.
The President's Science Advisory Committee included many noteworthy scientists and non-scientists, among them:
- James R. Killian (Chairman 1957-1959)
- George Kistiakowsky (Chairman 1959-1961)
- Philip Handler
- Herbert York
- Hans Bethe
- Britton Chance
- Thomas Gold
The Committee had no operating responsibilities. Its purpose was to provide advisory opinions and analysis on science and technology matters to the entire Federal Government and specifically to the President. About one-half of the panels' studies were directed to the question of how science could support the United States' national security objectives. The creation of Arms Limitations and Control, Limited Warfare, the Space Science Panels, for example, reflected the national security concerns of the Committee. Two important themes common to many of the studies are the budgetary problems of funding projects, and the Administration's concern over competing successfully with the Soviet Union in science and technology.
The end of the PSAC
Shortly after his re-election in 1972, President Richard Nixon eliminated the President's Science Advisory Committee. The White House Office of Science and Technology and the United States Congress were made to rely on federal agencies for guidance in scientific policy. A similar entity, PCAST, was established by President George H.W. Bush.
- U.S. President's Science Advisory Committee Records, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
- Diary of George B. Kistiakowsky, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
- Hans Bethe talking about his time on the President's Science Advisory Committee on Peoples Archive.
- The Papers of the President's Science Advisory Committee, 1957-1961