The Michigan Daily-Friday, November 20, 1981-Page 9
New 'U' administrator
at center of debate
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George Gamota is in the middle of a
growing campus controversy but he
doesn't seem to know why.
A former director for research in the
Department of Defense, Gamota, 42,,
began his job as director of the Univer-
sity's Institute of Science and
Technology June 1. Since that time,
there has been a fear among some
students and faculty members that he
is here to procure more defense con-
tracts for University researchers.
HE OPENLY proclaims his liking for
the defense department. But he says
helping University researchers obtain
defense contracts is just one activity
that goes with his job.
"I see my job a little differently from
my predecessors," he said in his
noticeable Ukrainian accent. "One
part is to manage (the institutue), and
equally important is to organize people
from the whole University to pursue
(research) opportunities," he said.
Gamota said he believes the best way
to approach research is "by problems,
not disciplines." He said he is trying to
group people from various disciplines
in order to best approach research
AND IN keeping with University
President Harold Shapiro's renewed
emphasis on research, Gamota said he
is doing all he can to find research op-
Gamota said he sees the defense
department as one of those places in
which the University stands to make
Asked why the defense department
sponsors basic research, Gamota an-
swered "Why not?"
"IT'S EXISTED for hundreds of
years that way. Lewis and Clark was a
military expedition," he said.
Gamota cited just a few of the other
examples of defense-sponsored work
that have benefited society, such as
micro-electronics ("the basis for those
calculators you carry in your pockets,"
he said), computers, and synthetic rub-
Gamota does not fear the possible
applications of basic research. He said
he looks at research from the point of
view of a scientist. (Before joining the
defense department, he did physics
research.) He said he does not want to
close off avenues of support for in-
"IF YOU'RE looking at Saturn," he
suggested in an interview last month,
"you may have a fear of Star Wars, but
that doesn't mean you should stop
looking at it."
Gamota is supportive of basic
research on college campuses, but he
says he is not trying to bring classified
work here. "The University has a good
policy (on classified research), and I
support it," Gamota said.
He said he does not see any validity in
the argument that the defense depar-
tment should not support basic resear-
ch because all research in science and
engineering can have national security
"I defy you to name one (project)
that is not," Gamota responded to a
Michigan Student Assembly question
last week. -Barry Witt
:)unaays ana nonaays a _
Defense work okay to many
(Continued from Page 1)
of detonation for the defense depar-
THOSE WHO use these basics deter-
mine how to apply them, they argue.
"Any knowledge can be used con-
structively or destructively," said
Engineering Prof. Emmett Leith.
George Gamota, the new director of
the University's Institute of Science
and Technology, noted that even Sir
Isaac Newton used the British military
to pay ,for his basic work. Certainly
gravity has applications to the military,
but supporters question, does that
mean no one should have researched
what it was all about?
In addition, today's researchers find
the defense department to be a very
good boss for their work.
SINNOTT SAID he likes defense
sponsorship because he only has one
. Other federal agencies are more
tangled in bureaucracy and would be
more difficult to work for, he said.
Sinnott also pointed out that the defense
department has a "real reason" for
sponsoring his materials research
council, whereas another organization
would not be concerned specifically
with the work his group is doing.
Therefore, he said, although the work
can benefit a number of organzations,
the Pentagon is the most likely can-
didate to sponsor it.
For certain areas of technological
research, getting money from other
departments is difficult, say some
"THE NATIONAL Science Foun-
dation will do some things, but it's very
limited," Nicholls said.
"By definition, (the defense depar-
tment) has to be up and ahead on
things...so the money is likely to come
from there," Nicholls said.
"Because (the military) must be on
top of technology, that immediately
classifies it as (an organization) with
the need to support advanced work," he
A DEPARTMENT of Defense official
said the military takes responsibility
for supporting research in areas such
as lasers and integrated circuits.
"If we don't pursue them, they don't
get adequate funding, said Jimmie Sut-
tIe, an assistant director for research at
the defense department.
"We push along areas in which we see
potential," he said. "We're trying to
push them along a little faster."
IN 1970, Congress passed the Man
sfield Amendment, which required the.
defense department only to sponsor
projects for which it could show a direct
relationship to a military function. But
after six months of following the
guidelines, the Pentagon found it too
restrictive to complete some of its ob-
jectives, and Congress softened the rule
said Institute of Science and
Technology Director Gamota.
Now; Pentagon-sponsored research
must have some national security im-
plication Gamota said, but added that
any technological research project
could have such an implication
somewhere along the line.
"The things we support do have a
potential relevance for us," Suttle said.
"We don't spend money on things that
aren't relevant to natinal security in
BUT ONE of the "things," Suttle ad-
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ded, is "advancing the technology
And Engineering School Dean James
Duderstadt said that is the key to much
of the research he has seen here. "The
defense department is interested in
maintaining a certain level of com-
petence in the technical fields," Duder-
Duderstadt has worked with the Air
Force on research concerning the
"Propagation and Interaction of Inten-
se Beams." He said the Air Force
sponsors research here "not because
there are any definite applications, but
because they want to maintain com-
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