Saturday, July 02, 2005

The U. S. is losing in science and technology

Not to be alarmist or anything, but...

Quoting Ray Kurzweil from this discussion at Edge:
You'll be pleased to know that things are not slowed down in China and India. I've got some graphs showing engineers' levels are declining in the United States; they're soaring in China. China's graduating 300,000 engineers a year compared to 50,000 in the United States.

From another article:
According to a survey in Physical Review, reported in May 2004, the number of scientific papers published by West European authors had overtaken those by U.S. authors in 2003, whereas in 1983 there were three American authors for every West European. The percentage of patents granted to American scientists has been falling since 1980, from 60.2 percent of the world total to 51.8 percent. In 1989, America trained the same number of science and engineering PhDs as Britain, Germany and France put together; now the United States is 5 percent behind. The number of citations in science journals, hitherto led by American scientists, is now led by Europeans.

It wouldn't be any surprise in 10 or 15 years to see a similar report regarding U. S./Europe combined vs. China/India/elsewhere in Asia...

Already Korea seems to be leading the world in stem cell work... Venter, in the Edge article referred to above, notes that "There are an awful lot of people who don't go into stem cell research right now, a lot has been shut down, a lot of scientists have had to leave the country to try and continue their research, a lot of money that could have gone to it has been diverted."

One could also observe that the world's largest high-energy physics facility for at least the next 15 years, CERN, is located on the French/Swiss border, and the next-generation experimental fusion reactor, ITER, will be in France. (Japan was the alternative; the U. S. wasn't even in the running.)

Folks, it could well be that the game's over, and the U. S. has already lost, though it hasn't realized that yet.

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