No Science Shackles: Oppenheimer
Conant at Lawrence Banquet
Insistence that pure science must remain free from control by "practical" considerations was voiced by J. Robert' Oppenheimer '26, director of the Institute for Advanced Study, as he, President Conant, and Vannevar Bush, president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, addressed a Harvard Club of Boston hanquet last night celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Lawrence Scientific School.
Oppenheimer declared that the chief contribution of technology lies in the tools of research it provides and not in the demands it makes upon science.
"Little can be expected," he declared, "from exhortations to science to produce practical ends. On the contrary, development of our practical technology provided ever-growing and rich fructification for the works of a science. Technology is a good efficient cause, but a very poor final cause for science.
President Conant, too, dealt with "the dichotomy between those who study science for the love of learning and those who have practical ends constantly in view."
He hailed the "intimate fusion of the advance in science with progress in the practical arts," and compared the current fraternal spirit of engineers and theoretical scientists with that fostered by the Lawrence Scientific School in 1848.
Bush stressed the growth of engineering as a profession, and looked forward to the day when a newly born profession of management could league with engineering to "so manage prosperity as to make it conducive to the health of the nation."
Under such a set-up, the "task of management would become closely skin to trusteeship with obligations to four groups-government, employees, owners, and consumers."
Bush said that such a trend now exists in American business and added that "at every hand throughout the world, opportunities-nay necessities of the most urgent order-call for its ministration."
Another phase of the centenary celebration took place yesterday afternoon when engineering Alumni and members of the University Visiting Committee heard Faculty members of the Graduate School of Engineering present technical papers on electricity, aerodynamics, civil engineering, and sewage disposal.