Thursday, May 06, 2004

Too Few New Scientists From yesterday's New York Times comes this depressing article on the dearth of American college students choosing to pursue careers in science.

The United States faces a major shortage of scientists because too few Americans are entering technical fields and because international competition is heating up for bright foreigners who once filled the gap, a federal panel warned Tuesday.

"I fear irreversible damage can be done," Robert C. Richardson, a Nobel laureate in physics and a member of the panel, said at a news conference in Washington, adding that he found the personnel trends "quite disturbing."

Warren M. Washington, chairman of the panel, the National Science Board, said the nation was in "a long-distance race" to maintain its edge in human scientific resources.

"For many years we have benefited from minimal competition in the global science and engineering labor market," he said. "But attractive and competitive alternatives are now expanding around the world."

The solution, Dr. Washington added, is for the United States to work harder at developing its own scientific talent. But a board report shows declining interest among young Americans in science careers

To develop our own scientific talent we would need an administration that is both interested in quality science and far-sighted enough to be willing to spend money on science education. Our current administration passes neither of those tests.


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