Friday, May 25, 2012

New Acquisitions

Gave a lot of books to the library so of course I had to drop by the used book sale there. It did not disappoint. I got a handsome hardback copy of Vannevar Bush's Science: The Endless Frontier (1945). It was one of those important books that I never picked up a copy of because a pdf was readily available. This was a 1980 re-release that also includes the associated committee reports as appendices.

So the book itself is beautiful, has a lot of good content, and is just a good one to have. But another great part about it is where it came from. Based on the imprints in the book and along the spine, it was donated given away to the library by DARPA's technical library (DARPA is just a block away from the Arlington Public Library). So DARPA's old copy of Bush's report - pretty cool!

btw - one of the things I appreciate about the book is that its chapter on workforce issues did not obsess over shortages and labor supply issues and out-doing the Soviets in the same way that a lot of people associated with science policy did in the 40s and 50s (and even today for that matter). Bush takes a fairly measured approach. He does dedicate a good deal of space to a very specific supply problem: the fact that the draft and the war generated a deficit in new scientists and engineers that would have otherwise gone through college during the war years. That, of course, is a fairly legitimate supply concern and it's not grounded in nonsense about chronic shortages.

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