Dr. Neal F. Lane


Welcoming Remarks

Introduction of Jack Gibbons

Dinner for National Medals of Science and Technology

July 25, 1996

[Introduced by John Hocker, Medals Foundation Executive Director]

Thank you, John. Honored guests, families and friends, ladies and gentlemen. Good evening and welcome. It gives me great pleasure to have the honor of welcoming you to this very special evening of events.

During this Olympic summer, we are here to honor gold medalists from a different venue of competition--the recipients of the 1996 National Medals of Science and Technology.

I know some of you have heard me talk about what a confusing and contradictory time this is for science and technology in America. While on the one hand, we are witnessing an amazing era for discovery and progress, we see tight budgets and an uncertain future for research on the other.

This confusing set of events was perhaps best summed up by a bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago. It read: "who put a stop payment on my reality check."

This evening's event provides us with a reality check of a different kind--the best kind in my opinion. It reminds us how fortunate we are for America's prowess in science and technology. America has always provided an encouraging and fertile environment in which talented people can explore, invent, and excel.

Historically, America has been a cradle for innovation and individualism, for challenges and chances, for pioneer spirits in search of untamed lands, uncharted horizons, and unexplained phenomena. Some call this "Yankee ingenuity," others call it "America's can do spirit." Whatever its name, this characteristic has been an invaluable resource for our national well being.

We are here to celebrate contributions by individuals as well as by entire corporate entities. All the medalists have brought the diversity of their backgrounds and the uniqueness of their talents to bear on problems and challenges in science and technology. We all share in the bounty of that knowledge and expertise. We also share the collective challenge of preserving and strengthening the system that has enabled these individuals and companies to flourish.

Our medalists tonight are harbingers of a bright future for America. Their intellect and creativity remind us that the "can do spirit" may be clothed in more sophisticated trappings today but it is the core of America, our essence and our destiny.

Let me now recognize two individuals who also epitomize America's can do sprit--the members of the U.S. Congress who we are delighted have joined us for this evening's events:

Thanks to you both for joining us this evening.

Later in the evening--after dinner--we will resume the formal part of our program and recognize each of our awardees.

Until that time, let me just encourage you to sit back and enjoy the good food, elegant surroundings, and engaging conversation. Thank you and enjoy your dinner.

Introduction of Jack Gibbons

Good evening once again. We will now resume the formal portion of our program.

It is my great pleasure now to introduce a valued colleague, trusted friend, and outstanding individual--Jack Gibbons, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science and Technology Advisor to President Clinton.

Jack is no stranger to most of us here this evening. He is one of the most visible and effective spokespersons for science and technology in the nation today. His resume includes career stops at several of our highly-respected science and technology institutions -- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Federal Office of Energy Conservation, the University of Tennessee, and the recently-disestablished Office of Technology Assessment.

A fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Council on Foreign Relation and the National Academy of Engineering, and an accomplished musician and equestrian, Jack is clearly a person of diverse interests, talents, and achievements.

His mastery of science, government, and the arts makes him a genuine Jeffersonian in the finest sense of his native Virginia. And, it also shows that he is someone who has learned to survive without sleep.

Please join me in welcoming him this evening, "Mr. Science and Technology"--Jack Gibbons.