Recall that Kennedy’s successor, with far more political capital than Kennedy had, promised to defeat poverty. Historian Steven Hayward notes that in 1966, Lyndon Johnson’s commander in the War on Poverty, Sargent Shriver, told Congress that the White House believed poverty in America would be eliminated within 10 years. “Why,” Hayward wryly asks, “should social science be more difficult than rocket science?”
I don’t know that one is more difficult than the other, but I do know that they are not interchangeable. Physics is good at figuring out how to split atoms. Sociology, not so much.