Office of Science and Technology Policy


For Immediate Release Contact 202/456-6047

July 28, 1999


Statement by Neal Lane

Assistant to the President for Science and Technology

In Memory of Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.


It is a great honor to be asked by the President to represent him at today's memorial service for Congressman George E. Brown, Jr., along with my colleagues, Secretary Dan Glickman, who served for many years with George in Congress, and NASA Administrator Dan Goldin.

It is altogether appropriate that today's commemoration of George's life gathers together both the nation's top political leadership -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- as well as the nation's leaders in science and technology. For perhaps George's most unique quality was his ability to thrive in two separate worlds at the same time: a rough and tumble world of politics and two-year election cycles, and a more quiet and contemplative world devoted to a thoughtful analysis of the long term progress of science and society.

In later years, when asked why he had sought a position on the House Science and Technology Committee, George simply said, "My interest is in the long-term analysis of the condition of our society, where it's going, and how to help move it in the right direction." From his Committee perch, George led numerous initiatives to marry politics and science in that quest. His work creating the Office of Technology Assessment to assist Congress, and his leadership in re-creating the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House in 1976, reflected his own deep belief that the government could benefit from an infusion of scientific and technical advice. The continued vitality of OSTP and the commitment of five successive Presidents to a strong science advisor function in the White House is testimony to the wisdom of George's vision.

George's enthusiastic support for the space program also stemmed from his long view of human history. He saw space as the next logical frontier for human exploration and as a source of inspiration for our highest aspirations. He viewed the space station as the critical staging ground for that high endeavor, and I know that he viewed the launch of the first components of the station with great personal satisfaction.

George Brown is rightly applauded for his contributions to our nation in science and technology, not only for his legislative accomplishments -- which were legion -- but also for his unwavering optimism that science is the critical foundation for a better world. In a a recent interview, George said, "From my earliest days, I was fascinated by a utopian vision of what the world could be like. I've thought that science could be the basis for a better world, and that's what I've been trying to do all these years." The best way that we can honor his memory is to rededicate ourselves to achieving that vision.


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