The age of “big science” was produced by the military-industrial complex through having the US military, US universities, and US businesses collaborate to produce research for the nation, particularly for warfare research. This was a 50 year period that started with WWII and ended in the early 1990’s, which was when the Soviet Union was dissolved.
There were leaders, such as Vannevar Bush and Barry Goldwater, that were very much for this complex. However, leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower and J. William Fulbright had some concerns about it. Bush believed that the US should develop a national agency for science and use public and academic research in order to help with American security and welfare. He believed science would increase American jobs and production. Goldwater saw the complex as a way to not only protect Americans from domestic and international threats, but to also allow America to be the nation everyone in the world looks up to for defense and research. They both believed that the complex would benefit US civilians. However, Eisenhower viewed this complex would lead to an imbalance of knowledge and cost and that the individual is just as important as a group of researchers. He viewed that if the nation only focuses on research from universities instead of both them and individual researchers, then, “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite” (435). Fulbright shares similar views, but also believes that using universities for research to feed into the complex would cheat students from learning. He feels that professors and other researchers have begun to place their priority on getting their research out to the military department and not on teaching their knowledge. He also believed that universities will rely too much on government funding due to research, making them more commercial and less educational.