I’ve been seeing data about this issue for a couple of years. As an American, one of the things about which I’m most proud is our achievement in science and technology. But it appears that science talent and leadership is globalizing like everything else. There are a lot of smart, scientifically literate people out there, and they’ve set their sights on achieving the economic and political benefits of scientific culture, not to mention the prestige. As a world citizen I find that exciting and encouraging.
The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals.
Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America’s, apparently with little public awareness of the trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security or the vigor of the nation’s intellectual and cultural life.
“The rest of the world is catching up,” said John E. Jankowski, a senior analyst at the National Science Foundation, the federal agency that tracks science trends. “Science excellence is no longer the domain of just the U.S.”
“It’s all in the ebb and flow of globalization,” said Jack Fritz, a senior officer at the National Academy of Engineering, an advisory body to the federal government. He called the declines “the next big thing we will have to adjust to.”