A detailed and systematic examination of the contribution of public science to industrial technology would be useful evidence in arguing the case for governmental support of science. This paper provides such an examination, by tracing the rapidly growing citation linkage between U.S. patents and scientific research papers. Seventy-three percent of the papers cited by U.S. industry patents are public science, authored at academic, governmental, and other public institutions; only 27% are authored by industrial scientists. A strong national component of this citation linkage was found, with each country's inventors preferentially citing papers authored in their own country, by a factor of between two and four. Particularly rapid growth was found for the dependence of patented technology on U.S. papers. References from U.S. patents to U.S.-authored research papers have tripled over a six-year period, from 17,000 during 1987–1988 to 50,000 during 1993–1994, a period in which the U.S. patent system grew by only 30%. The cited U.S. papers are from the mainstream of modern science; quite basic, in influential journals, authored at top-flight research universities and laboratories, relatively recent, and heavily supported by NIH, NSF, and other public agencies.