SP-4304 SEARCHING THE HORIZON: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976

 

9

AMES IN A LARGER CONTEXT

 

[183] Although NASA was built upon the foundations of the NACA, absorbing its personnel and facilities, the new agency soon differed radically from the old in many ways - and nowhere more than in the practice of public relations. The NACA had been a quiet agency in a very specialized line of work. To those connected with aeronautics, it had been highly respected and well known; but to the general public, it was one of the less familiar government agencies. In the early years of Ames, its managers made little effort to conduct a public relations program, which was considered neither desirable nor necessary.

Not that Ames lacked ties with the local community, especially the academic community; but those ties were very conservative and usually ad hoc. There were professional ties among colleagues in the same fields; there were arrangements whereby Ames personnel could study or teach at Stanford, or graduate students could work part-time at Ames; there were the important ties resulting from Professor Durand's eminence in the NACA. But there was little institutionalized joint research, little formalized, continuing collaboration. The results of Ames research did not reach beyond the aeronautic community because of the nature of the NACA's work. What would later be called spinoff technology did not exist.

These three areas of public involvement -public relations, academic ties, and technological spinoff changed greatly after 1958. NASA started with a completely different outlook on life, owing its very existence to public awareness of the implications of Sputnik. The need for an immediate, major financial commitment dictated a new approach to the public. The range of research increased dramatically as NASA became involved in space technology and life support, while continuing the aeronautical research that had gained the NACA its reputation. The increased scope of investigation changed NASA's relationship with academia and created technology that could be adapted to subsidiary uses. This chapter considers changes in these areas at Ames in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

 

[184] COMMUNITY TIES

 

As one Ames veteran remarked,

 

In the old days, we did very little in public relations. Every three years, we invited congressmen and local mayors to what was mostly a technical open house. We didn't feel it necessary to make a big effort to improve public relations, though. Now, public relations activities are more important, in part, because of the increased emphasis on space research.1

 

NASA brought a whole new approach to public relations. Under De France, public relations were restrained in tone and limited to infrequent gestures on a local basis. Undoubtedly, De France felt that public salesmanship was inappropriate. Gestures that would have been considered routine public relations by any business he saw as potential conflicts of interest, and he discouraged Ames personnel from placing themselves in public situations that could be seen to have the remotest connection with their position at Ames.2 The public, therefore, was not encouraged to much interaction with Ames. The triennial open house, where congressmen, representatives of industry, and local dignitaries were given a tour of the laboratory and informed of research accomplishments, was not open to the public. It was left to the Washington office to keep up political contacts and to create a respected image for the NACA; as Ames managers perceived things, the task of the laboratories was research, not diplomacy.

NASA, dependent on public support for its large appropriations and born in the full glare of political limelight, took an active approach to public relations from the very beginning. The research centers followed suit, and after 1958 the local newspapers seemed to carry more publicity about Ames. It also seems that De France was still reluctant to plunge into such outside activities.3 By the late 1960s, however, Ames was taking an active role in community affairs, in decided contrast to its first two decades of existence Evidence of the change is widespread.4

On a community level, much of the new public exposure was the result of efforts to act as a mentor for both students and teachers. The 1963-1968 period saw increased participation in activities sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association; Ames hosted prize-winning high-school students and served as an audience for the presentation of their research projects. In 1965 Ames began to take part in President Johnson's Youth Opportunity Campaign, designed to offset high unemployment among teenagers by creating new jobs in federal agencies. The first year Ames hired 25 young, people aged 16-21 for summer employment.5 The numbers grew [185] each summer. The practice not only benefited the students by providing them with work; it also served as another means of integrating the center into the surrounding community in a very practical manner. During the same period, Ames became involved in teacher education with an annual lecture series for science teachers of Santa Clara County.

In the mid-1960s Ames began to place exhibits at county fairs, and both NASA as a whole and Ames in particular received a good deal of publicity through this exposure. In 1966 Idaho sponsored an Aerospace Week and Ames provided the major exhibits and educational programs. That same year Ames staff members taught a course in atomic energy to a local boy scout troop.

Some of the publicity that Ames enjoyed during NASA's first decade resulted from the public's fascination with space rather than any effort made by the center. In the mid 1960s news of Ames was featured on some prestigious television programs, emphasizing the range of research done at the center. In 1963 a documentary depicted the center's work on the supersonic transport. The next year Ames test pilots involved with the X-14A were interviewed, and the following year two members of the Ames life-science staff discussed the effects of space on the human body. While perhaps minor exposure on a national level, the growing mention of Ames in the media served to remind the local public that interesting things were taking place there and, indeed, had been for years. When Smith De France retired in September 1965, the Palo Alto Times devoted an editorial to a finely worded appreciation of the man and the institution he had been so influential in molding.6

The trend toward major efforts in public relations throughout the agency was emphasized in 1966 when NASA instituted a "communications improvement" campaign. Public information officers were charged with maximizing their center's positive image in the local community.7 The timing suggests that the first flush of enthusiasm for space inspired by the formation of the agency and the Mercury and Gemini projects had faded and needed bolstering by a conscious effort at salesmanship. Another element in Ames's growing involvement in outside activities undoubtedly stemmed from gregarious Harvey Allen's influence as the new director. He was irrepressibly eclectic in his interests and acquaintances. Under Allen, the Ames bias toward isolationism began to fade; the director's natural sociability was matched by his commitment as a researcher to a less limited field of professional and public dialogue.

Over the next few years, the scope of the Ames public affairs office increased as the center became ever more involved with the public. Tours of the research center, unlike the highly formalized affairs of the NACA period grew into routine offerings to an assortment of groups, from elementary school classes to visiting scientists from other countries. Ames activities were [186] mentioned with increasing frequency in the local papers. In 1970, when NASA closed its Western Operations Office at Pasadena, Ames assumed the duties of conducting NASA's public affairs in the 11 western states. This widened the Ames public affairs office's duties to include distribution of educational films and publications, management of NASA exhibits, and response to public and press inquiries.8

In 1971 Hans Mark reassigned Arthur Freeman, who had been the director of administration since 1940, to a new role. As Freeman put it later, his job was "to explain as carefully and as thoroughly as possible what we are doing and why we are doing it-not only what we are achieving from a scientific standpoint, but also how it impacts on and contributes to both the local economy and the future of mankind." His task was over and above that of the public affairs office. Freeman was to stay in "contact with appropriate representatives of state and local governments, local businesses, labor organizations, and business and professional associations, the purpose being to determine how we, as a Government research activity, can materially increase our contributions to and improve our relations with our 'area of responsibility.' "9

Freeman's summary, prepared for Headquarters, gives a good indication of how widely Ames had extended itself into the public sphere since 1958. For example, by 1971 the center had a "small-business specialist" whose task was to educate small firms on how to do business with Ames or other federal agencies. He specifically sought out small local businesses to supply some of Ames's needs, and with a reasonable amount of success: of 109 research and development contracts issued in a two-year period, 32 went to small businesses.10 In a similar manner, the Contracts Compliance Office was instrumental in implementing a Small Business Minority Entrepreneur program, under which service contracts were negotiated with minority-owned small businesses. The hope was that the experience would increase their success in gaining other contracts.

Cooperation with the Neighborhood Youth Corps of Santa Clara County, which began in 1967 with summer employment opportunities for Iocal students, grew by 1971 into a program by which Ames employed over 50 high-school dropouts, with the purpose of teaching; job skills that would enable them to gain jobs within the community. By 1971 almost 400 had participated in the program.

On the high-school and college level, Ames's cooperation had progressed past occasional interaction to a number of continuing relationships. From one high-school district, 40 students were bused to Ames five afternoons a week as part of a credited work-study program. The same was true for Foothill and De Anza Community Colleges; Ames provided part-time employment for nearly 20 students annually, as part of the colleges' financial aid programs. In 1970 a separate special training program was begun [187] with the Foothill Community College District. Students received classroom instruction on campus and practical work experience in the Ames shops and facilities.

As a source of employment and job training Ames was becoming more of a force in the local community; but in addition to that, the center was beginning to stretch its facilities and personnel resources outward into the community. Besides organizing and staffing teacher workshops for college-credit coursework, Ames began offering more specialized programs. In 1970 an Ames craftsman gave a three-day forum for high-school shop teachers interested in developing courses in plastics. Various one-day institutes for college classes were given some 10 times a year, and a teacher resource center was developed. This provided local teachers with the chance to preview audio and visual aids for classroom use, to reproduce visual material, and to use the Ames library. In addition, local colleges were invited to participate in the seminars that Ames conducted for its own staff, a tradition that had begun to develop under Allen's directorship.

By 1971 Ames had also become involved in mutual research projects with students, high-school teachers, and university professors. During the school year, between 20 and 30 high-school students studied with an Ames researcher one day a week, working on a research project of mutual interest. As part of the program, members of the life-sciences staff taught a course in space biology; at the year's end, Ames awarded fellowships to the most promising students for the continuation of their research. For high-school teachers, similar opportunities were present; the National Science Foundation sponsored 30 summer fellowships for teachers interested in research-oriented courses. Like the students, they were given the chance to pursue a summer research project with an Ames staff member.

One of the most interesting programs in which Ames became involved was the Faculty Fellowship Program jointly sponsored by NASA and the American Society for Engineering Education. Begun in 1964, the 10-week summer program was constructed to give experience in space research and engineering systems design to college faculty who were outstanding in related fields. In the cooperative study and research program, Stanford shared with Ames the combination of research and coursework responsibilities; 50-60 professors worked with the Ames senior staff and attended classes and seminars at Stanford. The program was a two-year one; most researchers returned for a second summer to continue their projects. In 1968, for example, 20 of the participants produced a system design of a manned lunar scientific observatory. NASA received the benefits of a useful study, and the researchers gained experience in designing multidisciplinary engineering systems.11

As an aid to those earlier along in their careers, Ames also took part in the National Research Council's Resident Research Associateship program.

[188] The Fellows were funded by money allocated to the Council by NASA Headquarters and chosen by a panel appointed by the President of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers could work in any fields that were of interest to Ames; the Fellows were often renewed to continue their work over several years. The program began in 1961 with one post-doctoral associate and grew steadily; by the end of 1976, participants numbered 38, half new appointments and half renewals.12

On a less technical level than the NASA-ASEE program, Ames had also developed educational ties in ways that increased the center's visibility and rapport with the community and bridged the gap between highly specialized technology and the Bayshore Freeway commuter who occasionally looked at the collection of wind tunnels and idly wondered what happened there.

In the adult community, the center had begun participating in local adult education programs, offering instructors for courses on aeronautics and space sciences. In addition, members of the staff served on high-school and college curriculum councils, evaluating course offerings and recommending alternatives. In cooperation with local industry, a number of center personnel were members of a science and mathematics council, which also included local high schools and colleges, that attempted to coordinate educational needs with local resources.13

By the late 1960s Ames had developed a conscientious program of classroom visits to local elementary and high schools. By Freeman's estimate, center personnel visited over 300 elementary schools over a five-year period. Over 10,000 students visited Ames, with the staff providing both tours and classroom lectures.14 Two Explorer Scout posts in aeronautics and astronautics were sponsored at Ames, to provide experience in various research fields and to aid career planning.

 

RESEARCH TIES WITH ACADEMIA

 

NASA, and Ames, needed the resources of the academic community in a way that the NACA had not. Not only did the increased scope of research demand outside assistance, but the sheer volume of that research necessitated, in many instances, combining efforts. Collaboration was attractive to the universities, for NASA was a welcome source of funding and had many facilities that the universities could not match. Throughout the agency, offices were established to administer the various relationships between academia and NASA. At Ames, the University Affairs Office was established in 1965; 1967 saw the beginning of a separate and innovative Ames university understanding. All NASA centers had university affairs offices but the office at Ames was run somewhat differently from those at the other [189] centers. The variety and number of relationships between Ames and academic institutions probably exceeded that of any other NASA installation.15

The University Affairs Office evolved slowly. In 1965 a Grants and Research Contracts Officer was named within the Programs and Resources Office to process academic proposals and administer grants to universities. Grants, through which NASA financed research in hopes of productive results, went through the Procurement Division for processing, after having been approved by Headquarters. In 1971 Headquarters began to decentralize control of activities dealing with academia. The move was one of several steps taken to cut costs in the face of shrinking resources. As Hans Mark retrospectively observed, Ames, because of the various methods it had already established for dealing with academia, was in a position to benefit from the decision because it already had the machinery to perform the task.16 Headquarters transferred to Ames the responsibility for awarding grants as well as administering them. At that time, however, the Procurement Division was still responsible for grants; the Ames University Affairs Office was made a part of that division a year later to expedite processing.

In 1976 Mark made the University Affairs Office a separate entity, reporting to the Administration Directorate. In addition, the office obtained authority to administer the financial details of grants, without having to go through the Procurement Division. Most individuals who dealt with the universities were thereby freed from the time-consuming procurement regulations. Contracts, by which Ames purchased specified products, remained with the Procurement Division, but contracts accounted for only a small part of the Ames-university relationships.

By 1976 Ames had a budget of $8.2 million a year for awarding grants.17 It had entered into twice as many university agreements as any other NASA center. Knapp A. Tomberlin, who took over the University Affairs Office in 1976, saw two factors that contributed to the success of the office: management support for working with universities was strong, and the administrative process utilized by the University Affairs Office bypassed both NASA Headquarters and the procurement process. That simplification, in Tomberlin's opinion, existed only at Ames.18

After 1967 Ames increased its ties with academia dramatically by means of another unique innovation. Growing from an arrangement with the University of Santa Clara Law School, the NASA-Ames University Consortium provided a relatively simple means of establishing collaborative relationships with universities without going through procurement processes. The idea that eventually resulted in the consortium grew out of frustration. Jack Glazer came to Ames as chief counsel in 1966. At that time, space law was a new and exotic field, and extensive legal research was badly needed. Indeed, the unplowed area provided such research opportunities as every law student dreams about. Glazer, without colleagues, quickly found himself over-[190] -whelmed with both awareness of the research need and excitement over research opportunities.

Shortly after Glazer's arrival, he fell into conversation with Cyril Ponnamperuma of the Life Sciences Directorate, who told a sorry tale of his attempt to obtain the research talents of a visiting colleague at Stanford University. By the time the necessary paperwork had been processed, only a month or so had been left for research, and the visiting professor had shortly thereafter returned to his home university in Europe. Unfortunately, because the relationship had been formalized, he was still responsible, even alter leaving Stanford, for his share of the task. A simple desire for professional collaboration had turned into a nightmare for both researchers, and Ponnamperuma, needless to say, was loath to enter any more such arrangements.

Glazer needed research assistance. The logical place to find that assistance was any of the nearby law schools, where students needed research experience. Wondering how to bring the solution and the problem together, the Ames lawyer perused the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which had founded NASA. Glazer discovered that Congress, "in a sunburst of enthusiasm . . . had given the agency certain powers."19 Besides contracts and grants, NASA also had the authority to enter into less formal arrangements that were exempted from the procurement process. Sec. 203c(5) authorized the agency to enter into "contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, and other transactions"; (6) permitted NASA "to use, with their consent, the services, equipment, personnel, and facilities of Federal and other agencies with or without reimbursement, and on a similar basis to cooperate with other public and private agencies." These provisions gave NASA surprising latitude in pursuing joint ventures. The only limitation was that the type of business relationship envisioned must differ from those associated with the formal procurement or grant process. Since Glazer was contemplating a partnership with a law school, a collaboration to which each party contributed, this requirement was met, as neither grants nor contracts established partnerships.

Ames thereupon entered into a joint venture with the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1967 to produce basic research in space law. Two years later the first results were published, the beginning of a continuing stream of space-law research. Santa Clara's students gained valuable experience and were paid modestly for their services; for $5,000 Ames had the benefit of the students as researchers and gained another academic friend in the local community. In contrast to a grant agreement, the university had shared substantially in the cost of the research, and Ames had also remained very much a part of the research process. In contrast to an R&D contract, where research is bought for NASA's benefit, the partnership was mutually beneficial; Santa Clara's students gained apprenticeship experience as they contributed to a NASA need. Moreover, Ames's services, rather than money [191] alone, were of value to the university. In another agreement Glazer taught space law at the university as part of NASA's share of the partnership, while the university in return did research in the life sciences. The arrangement worked; the cost was probably 25% of what it would have been under a formal grant or an R&D contract.20

Other managers at Ames were quick to notice what Glazer had accomplished. He had, under the special authority of the Space Act, acquired assistants while at the same time establishing a research relationship with a local law school. In 1968 and 1969 Ames entered agreements with the University of Iowa and the University of New Mexico. In 1969 a standard consortium agreement was drafted to provide for the reciprocal use of services, personnel, facilities, and equipment. Thereafter negotiation with an individual school had to cover only specific activities.

The consortium was unusual in two ways. The partnership between Ames and the universities was designed to be a real, working relationship, whereby Ames added tangibly to the joint venture, providing professional expertise, facilities, teaching time -not just funding. Further, when reimbursement was involved, only direct costs were considered. This meant that Ames's financial contributions were kept low. The limit to a consortium agreement was $30,000 per year, not to exceed two years. But that money, as Glazer observed, was "manna from heaven" to some less prosperous colleges and universities, which were seldom chosen for the larger grants.21 This result, as Glazer saw it, was only good; it spread money to additional institutions, where unexpected excellence was often discovered. It also extended Ames's ties with the academic community much further than they had spread under contracts and grants. Mark's "octopus principle"22 was at work again: the more tentacles an institution spreads, the harder it is to dislodge it.

The appeal of the consortium is evident in the statistics. In 1971, 13 universities were part of the arrangement; five years later the consortium had 70 members and awards totaled over $1 million.23 The larger universities had also seen the advantages of the partnership with Ames, and by 1976 the membership list contained several of the more prestigious schools. With grant money becoming less available, consortium agreements gained in favor.

In 1971, four years after the first agreement with the Santa Clara Law School, the Ames-University Consortium held a plenary conference to assess the program. Glazer underlined clauses in the consortium agreement that permitted flexible relationships. Ames, for example, undertook to put at the university's disposal any requested personnel for meetings or consultations. Facilities of the center, including libraries and laboratories, were available without users' fees; the center was also able to utilize the talents of qualified students without regard to civil-service laws. In addition, Ames employees could audit courses within assenting universities at no charge.

[192] That the consortium was welcomed by Ames was also evident by the presence of two of the research directorate heads, Glen Goodwin of the Astronautics Directorate and Harold Klein of the Life Sciences Directorate. Klein, in his down-to-earth manner, described what the consortium agreements had meant to his directorate:

 

In 1967, we in the life sciences at Ames were very, very new . . . and most of our people . . . had not come from space-related institutions [but] from universities. [We] saw in this opportunity a way of continuing to do research more or less [as we] had been accustomed to.... We saw that these agreements could bring a certain measurement of this university style into our own laboratories. So we quickly climbed on the bandwagon.

 

By Klein's count, 17 faculty members, 14 graduate students, and 35 undergraduates had already worked at Ames and 17 papers had been published at a cost of less than $8,000 apiece.24 As Klein saw it, his directorate had certainly gotten its money's worth.

The consortium agreements, as they increased in number over the years, also tended to act as screening devices for potential grants. During a two-year consortium agreement for a specific research purpose, Ames could evaluate what could be expected from a larger, longer investment. Often, one result of a consortium agreement was a later grant for a larger amount, after the university had successfully demonstrated its potential. Thus, both as an end in itself and as a step toward a larger undertaking, the consortium played an important role in extending Ames as a national resource beyond the bounds of the local community. The ease with which agreements could be reached made informal collaboration more feasible. A method of formal procurement "avoidance, not evasion," as Glazer insisted,25 the consortium made it possible to conclude a short-term, small-budget research agreement quickly, often within three weeks. Normal procurement procedures, especially in 1967 when the consortium was conceived, often took many months. The consortium was a happy example of a creative way in which bureaucracy can be conquered and horizons widened.

 

SPINOFF TECHNOLOGY

 

Public relations attempted to advertise Ames and its achievements. Academic ties also accomplished this, while benefiting both parties. Spinoff technology, which transferred research accomplishments into the public sector, often performed a public relations task as well.

[193] Much Ames research contributed to spinoff technology, and as a result of a NASA-wide effort to identify civic needs that might be satisfied with federal research, more and more NASA research reached the public. In the early 1970s six NASA regional dissemination centers throughout the country began to provide industry with information concerning possible spinoff technology, using a computerized data base. Easy access to technological answers helped to widen NASA's technology audience.

In 1972 Daniel J. Harnett, head of NASA's Office of Industry Affairs and Technology Utilization, testifying before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, mentioned a recent study by the Denver Research Institute that had investigated NASA contributions to industrial technology.26 The study, which became an annual review, identified examples of successful technology transfer throughout NASA. In many instances, Ames research was cited as the basis for the advances. The center's contributions ranged from the exotic to the mundane, but the very assortment underlines the wealth of applications Ames research embraced.

In the early 1970s, for example, Ames research on spacecraft insulation led to development of fire-retardant insulation foam. What made the foam unique were just those fire-retardant aspects so necessary in spacecraft, for most commercial foams at the time were highly flammable. Used as core material in furniture and wall panels, fire-retardant foam had obvious advantages.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) became interested in the problem of flammable foam in housing. A data search by one of the NASA Technology Application Teams led to the discovery of the Ames work on foams, and HUD arranged for the spacecraft insulation to be tested for both fire retardation and ease of manufacture. Even while the foam was in the testing stage, the Port of New York Authority expressed interest in it. A fire at Kennedy Airport had drawn attention to the hazards of flammable foam in furniture; the fire had leapt eight meters between groups of chairs filled with flammable foam and caused more than $1 million in damages.27

In another sector, techniques for stress analysis in aeronautics were modified for use in civil engineering. One of the primary applications of the computerized method of analysis was forecasting material fatigue in bridges. The strength of structural materials is decreased by various influences, and the changes are not always visible, so that visual inspection can be only partially effective. In 1972-1973, using the Ames-developed analytical system called Randomdec, the Federal Highway Administration analyzed steel girders to determine the minimum size of a detectable flaw. To test Randomdec in another way a highway overpass near Moffett Field was fitted with a vibration sensor to monitor the effects that traffic and the weather had on the structure. Comparison of the data with earlier tests on the same [194] bridge showed that degradation of the structural elements could be measured efficiently.28

In biomedicine, an Ames-developed battery-operated ultrasonic electrocardioscope was tested and enthusiastically endorsed by Stanford University's School of Medicine. The instrument was much smaller than existing equipment, which meant that it could be used under conditions where the bulkier machines would be impractical or impossible. Being battery powered was even more important. In many situations where a patient's heart must be constantly monitored, it is desirable to limit the use of electrical equipment. The new machine cut down on the electrical hazards of continuous monitoring, which could be especially crucial in the case of newborn infants on additional life-support electronic equipment. The Ames electrocardioscope also had the advantage of being simpler to operate and potentially available for use by the patient at home.29 During 1974, as testing produced optimal results, marketing studies were begun by two major manufacturing companies that were interested in the possibilities of producing the electrocardioscope on a commercial basis.

The bedrest studies that Ames began in the early 1970s led to another somewhat exotic piece of biomedical equipment. A major problem for bedridden patients, especially those who cannot be moved, is keeping clean and comfortable. For hospital staff, bathing a bedridden patient is exhausting-, time-consuming, and often only partially satisfactory. In connection with the bedrest studies, Ames developed the idea of a horizontal shower. The patient, Iying on a box-like gurney that collected water and channeled it to a drain, was wheeled into a curtained frame that supported a ring of inwardly directed shower heads. The recumbent patient could thereby enjoy a complete shower without extensive equipment.30

Some spinoff technology originated with Ames contractors. This was the case with the Optacon device, developed under contract by the Stanford Research Institute in Palo Alto. The Optacon made any printed page available to a blind person. The reader moved a small camera over each line of print in turn. The machine converted the photo-image of the printed page into a vibrating image of the letters that could be interpreted when the reader placed his or her other hand in a small receiver box. Other government agencies sponsored additional research on the device, and at the end of 1976 a California company was investigating its production.31

On a less dramatic level, but important in its own right, was a hand tool developed and patented by an Ames employee. A coaxial cable stripper rapidly cut both shielding and insulation from a cable so that connectors could be attached. The tool was put into production in 1976.32

Finally, Ames and the California Division of Forestry developed an automatic system for sending fire prediction information to central sites via satellite. A tiny weather station measured and transmitted wind velocity and [195] direction, solar radiation, humidity, and the moisture content of the ground cover in the immediate area. Weighing only 91 kilograms, it could be transported into remote areas and was easily installed. At the end of 1976 the system was being tested in a limited area in California.33

The impressive thing about any technology utilization progress report is that it is soon outdated. Thus, these products of Ames research may well be in routine use in a few years, and not seem unique at all. As examples of ways in which Ames has entered the larger context of daily life, however, they will continue to be an imposing assortment of achievements.

In the widest sense, the product of any research institution is the constant advancement of understanding in its areas of investigation. Coupled with that understanding comes expanding use of the knowledge gained. Ames, as we have seen, has done a creditable job of spreading its research brainpower and facilities outward into the local community and the academic community. Imagination has carried Ames ideas into new contexts with practical applications in a variety of areas, enriching both the beneficiaries and the research center itself.

Locally, the center has grown into a role of local activism that complements its more arcane academic contributions and its spinoff technology. Over the years, Ames learned to use its resources to enrich the surrounding community and to foster an awareness of the center's research mission. Needless to say, Ames's more visible presence and its positive and practical help in community education have done a lot to win support for both the research center and for NASA. In the same way, collaboration with the academic community and spinoff technology have underlined the range of NASA's interests and helped to establish it as an agency which does indeed touch large elements of the population. The very recognition of the need to identify this connection is another measure of the distance Ames has come since 1940.


[196-197] SOURCE NOTES

Chapter 9. Ames in a Larger Context

 

1. Seth Anderson interview, 8 Feb. 1982.
 
2. De France's determination to avoid conflicts of interest has been commented on by many Ames employees.
 
3. According to Life Sciences Director Harold Klein, De France was still reluctant to embark on institutes and seminars with academia in the early 1960s, when life sciences was being established at Ames. The newly recruited life scientists saw this as parochial. Harold Klein interview, 24 Feb. 1982.
 
4. The growth of public relations activity can be seen in the Ames Astrogram issues throughout the 1960s.
 
5. Ames Astrogram 7 (no. 17, 10 June 1965): 2.
 
6. Palo Alto Times editorial of 28 Sept. 1965, reprinted in the Ames Astrogram 7 (no. 27, 14 Oct. 1965): 2.
 
7. Ames Astrogram 8 (no. 14, 28 Apr. 1966): 5.
 
8. Director Hans Mark to staff, 30 Nov. 1970.
 
9. Ames Dir. of Admin. Arthur Freeman to NASA Hq.,Dir. of Procurement, 7 June 1971, enclosing "Summary of Ames Activities." SBFRC 75-A-1324, 021896, RMO 5.
 
10. Ibid., p. 1.
 
11. Ames Astrogram 10 (no. 18,4 July 1968): 2.
 
12. "Users' Guide to University-Related Programs," NASA-Ames Research Center, Jan. 1980, pp. 9-10. University Affairs Office.
 
13. ''Summary of Ames Activities," p. 5.
 
14. Ibid.
 
15. Knapp A. Tomberlin interview, 5 Aug. 1982.
 
16. Hans M. Mark interview, 20 May 1982.
 
17. ''Users' Guide to University-Related Affairs," p. 7.
 
18. Tomberlin interview.
 
19. J. Henry Glazer interview, 9 Aug. 1982.
 
20. Ibid.
 
21. Ibid.
 
22. John W. Boyd interview, 23 July 1982.
 
23. "Users' Guide to University-Related Programs," p. 7.
 
24. First Plenary Conference on NASA-Ames-University Agreements, 4-5 Feb. 1971, at the University of Santa Clara, pp. 37-38.
 
25. Glazer interview, 9 Aug. 1982.
 
26. Daniel J. Harnett, statement before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Mar. 1972.
 
27. Ibid., app. A.
 
28. Technology Utilization Report, 1973, NASA SP-5119 (Washington, 1974) pp. 21-22.
 
29. Ibid., pp. 34-36.
 
30. Technology Utilization Report, 1974, NASA SP-5120 (Washington, 1975), p. 76.
 
31. Spinoff 77: An Annual Report, produced by the NASA Technology Utilization Office, Jan. 1977, p. 64.
 
32. "NASA Benefits Briefing Notebook," prepared for the NASA Technology Office under NASA contract NASW-3313, by the Denver Research Institute, Oct. 1978.
 
33. Spinoff 77, pp. 74-76.


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