How would some of the intellectual superstars of the past have fared if today's conditions had existed when they sought support for their work? Might we find them receiving the following correspondence?:

Dear Mr. Marconi,

Your inquiry concerning assistance for what you describe as a method of wireless communication has been carefully examined by a panel of specialists. It is their unanimous conclusion that the method is impractical. If you desire additional information about their findings, contact our Directorate for Semaphore Systems....

Dear Mr. Archimedes,

We note in your grant application that a bathtub is listed among your equipment requirements. Since the foundation must be prepared to respond to congressional inquiries about the projects it supports, please explain why this item is necessary and what problem, or problems, you intend to investigate with it. Pending receipt of a satisfactory response, funding of your grant is suspended....

Dear Mr. Newton,

Since this agency is responsible for research in the physical sciences only, we have taken the liberty of forwarding to the Department of Agriculture your recent communication concerning the ripening of apples. To spare you any inconvenience or delay, we suggest you direct further inquiries on this subject to the department....

Dear Mr. Marx,

Regarding your proposed study concerning possible relationships between various economic factors and social developments: It was the feeling of the review panel that the subject you have proposed is of such considerable scope that the project ought to be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team rather than by a single investigator. This would help promote balance and bring a variety of insights to the study. To carry out the project, it is considered desirable that an advisory committee periodically review progress and report back to this agency. We do not share your optimism about broad general interest in this subject, but we do conclude that it may be of sufficient scholarly importance to merit consideration for support, though no commitment can be made at this time. If you do resubmit an application, please be sure this time to include your institutional affiliation....

Dear Mr. Darwin,

Because of a limited amount of space on research vessels, we must regretfully limit accommodations to established scientific investigators who, in the judgment of their colleagues, are engaged in important research. We trust that you will understand that this process is designed to maximize the use of existing research facilities and in no way reflects on the validity of your research proposal....

Dear Mr. de Sade,

Regulations require that informed, voluntary consent be obtained from persons serving as experimental subjects. If you would kindly have the participants in your project complete the enclosed consent forms, we will proceed with evaluating your research proposal....