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Selective Bibliography of the National Science Foundation


Bronk, Detlev W. "The National Science Foundation: Origins, Hopes, and Aspirations." Science, 2 May 1975, 188:409-414.

Bush, Vannevar, Science - The Endless Frontier. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945.

England, J. Merton. A Patron for Pure Science: The National Science Foundation's Formative Years, 1945-1957. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1982.

Kevles, Daniel J. "The National Science Foundation and the Debate over Postwar Research Policy, 1942-1945: A Political Interpretation of Science - The Endless Frontier." Isis, 1977, 68:5-26.

Kleinman, Daniel Lee. Politics on the Endless Frontier: Postwar Research Policy in the United States. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995.

Kleinman, Daniel Lee, and Mark Solovey. "Hot Science/Cold War: The National Science Foundation after World War II." Radical History Review, 1995, 63:110-139.

Lomask, Milton. A Minor Miracle: An Informal History of the National Science Foundation. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1976.

Maddox, Robert Franklin. "The Politics of World War II Science: Senator Harley M. Kilgore and the Legislative Origins of the National Science Foundation." West Virginia History, 1979, 41:20-39.

Mazuzan, George T. "'Good Science Gets Funded ... '": The Historical Evolution of Grant Making at the National Science Foundation." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization, 1992, 14:63-90.

Mazuzan, George T. The National Science Foundation: A Brief History. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1988.

Rothenberg, Marc. "Making Judgments about Grant Proposals: A Brief History of the Merit Review Criteria at the National Science Foundation." Technology and Innovation, 2010, 12: 189-195.

Stever, Guy. In War and Peace: My Life in Science and Technology. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 2002. [autobiography of former director]

Tressel, George. "Science on the Air: NSF's Role." Physics Today, November 1990, 43:24-32.

Wang, Jessica. "Liberals, the Progressive Left, and the Political Economy of Postwar America: The National Science Foundation Debate Revisited." Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 1995, 26:139-166.


Appel, Toby A. Shaping Biology: The National Science Foundation and American Biological Research, 1945-1975. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Aspray, William, Andrew Goldstein, and Bernard Williams, "The Social and Intellectual Shaping of a New Mathematical Discipline: The Role of the National Science Foundation in the Rise of Theoretical Computer Science and Engineering." In Vita Mathematica: Historical Research and Integration with Teaching, ed. Ronald Calinger. Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1996, pp. 209-228.

Belanger, Dian Olson. Enabling American Innovation: Engineering and the National Science Foundation. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1998.

Edmondson, Frank K. AURA and Its U.S. National Observatories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. [NSF and astronomy]

Gallo, Jason. "The Discursive and Operational Foundations of the National Nanotechnology Initiative in the History of the National Science Foundation." Perspectives in Science, 2009, 17:174-211.

Gieryn, Thomas F. "The U.S. Congress Demarcates Natural Science and Social Science (Twice)." In Cultural Boundaries of Science: Creditability on the Line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp. 65-114.

Larsen, Otto N. Milestones and Millstones: Social Science at the National Science Foundation, 1945-1991. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1992.

Mazuzan, George T. "Up, Up, and Away: The Reinvigoration of Meteorology in the United States, 1958 to 1962." Bulletin of Atmospheric Sciences, October 1988, 69:1152-1163.

Rudolph, John L. Scientists in the Classroom: The Cold War Reconstruction of American Science Education. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Solovey, Mark. "The Price of Success: Sociologist Harry Alpert, the NSF's First Social Science Policy Architect." Annals of Science, 2011, 68:229-260.

Solovey, Mark. "Senator Fred Harris's National Social Science Foundation Proposal: Reconsidering Federal Science Policy, Natural-Science--Social Science Relations, and American Liberalism during the 1960s." Isis, 2012, 103: 54-82.

Solovey, Mark. Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013.

Stine, Jeffrey. "Scientific Instrumentation as an Element of U.S. Science Policy: National Science Foundation Support of Chemistry Instrumentation." In Invisible Connections: Instruments, Institutions, and Science, ed. Robert Bud and Susan E. Cozzens. Bellingham, Wash.: SPIE, 1992, pp. 238-263.

Other publications dealing with the history of the National Science Foundation, including the annual reports of the foundation, can be found at NSF History - Publications.