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September 27, 1941

Research—A National Resource. II.—Industrial Research. December 1940

JAMA. 1941;117(13):1137. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820390079029

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This report is a thrilling mystery story of how scientists unmasked saboteurs of progress and uncovered the secrets of materials, forces and personnel that blocked industrial advance. The first research scientists were often "amateurs," "gentlemen of leisure" or university professors usually interested in "pure" science. High rewards for successful discoveries caused investigators to multiply, until in 1940 2,330 companies "reported 70,033 persons engaged in technical research in the United States," an increase of 41 per cent since 1938. There was a sharp decline in industrial research departments in industry from 1929 to 1932. There are some indications that research, especially for all but the industrial giants, is returning to educational and technical institutions, which always are the main source of research personnel. When industrialists as well as chemists, physicists and physicians find ways to use the results of research in atomic disintegration, the distinction between "pure" and "applied" science disappears.

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