Future scientists?

One of the things that concerns me about the future (fret, fret!) is where the science resources to retain US leadership in the world is going to come from. Evidently the matter has gotten the attention of Congress. A report accompanying an energy bill says…

Investment in the physical sciences and engineering plays a critical role in enabling U.S. technological innovation and global economic leadership. It is essential to the development and utilization of our energy resources, as well as innovations in the areas of defense, the environment, communications and information technologies, health care and much more. Over the past 50 years, half of U.S. economic growth has come from prior investment in science and technological innovation. Life expectancy has grown from 55 years in 1900 to nearly 80 years today.


As fewer foreign students choose to pursue their education in the United States, and too few U.S. students enter these fields, our vulnerability grows. The National Science Foundation reports that between 1996 and 1999, the number of Ph.D.s in science and engineering awarded to foreign students declined by 15 percent. Only 5 percent of U.S. students now earn bachelors degrees in natural science or engineering. Since 1986, the total number of bachelors degrees in engineering is down 15 percent. Between 1994 and 2000, the number of Ph.D.s awarded in physics in the United States declined by 22 percent.

My mantra: money and brains will co-locate.