From the “50 and 100 years ago” feature in this week’s Nature (sub. req):
A recent survey shows that the study of physics in American public high schools has been declining for more than half a century… why [does our youth] turn away from a career in science? We can only grope for the answer. Perhaps they sense, better than their elders, that too much of our scientific talent is engaged in the unproductive task of developing weapons for war. Is there much inspiration to devote one’s life to this end, when we are rapidly approaching the borderline of total destruction?
That is from a 1955 plea by Milton W. Rosen of the Naval Research Laboratory on behalf of human space flight.