The Frontal Cortex

America and Science

Our eighth graders might not understand basic scientific concepts, but America is still a beacon for the “stars” of science, at least according to a new analysis by two social scientists at UCLA:

America has 62 percent of the world’s stars as residents, primarily because of its research universities which produce them.

Of course, there is nothing inevitable about this fact. Americans take it for granted that we’re an aggregator of research talent, but that could quickly change. (Or has it already changed?) Unless we can find a way to improve science education (and fix our visa problems, so that immigrant scientists aren’t discouraged from coming here), America will lose its scientific eminence. It’s a damn shame issues like this never come up at Presidential debates. (Perhaps if we spent a little less time obsessing over Iran…) The simple truth is that the future of American science is intertwined with the future of America.

Hat Tip: MR


  1. #1 Tom
    November 1, 2007

    I agree; the future of Science in the United States should definitely be a topic for discussions at the national, as well as the local, levels. I wish to thank you for mentioning the importance of Science, and also your service to our great country. However, I feel that the current leadership of Iran is a clear and present danger to the free world.

  2. #2 Urstoff
    November 1, 2007

    The structure of American primary/secondary education and American universities are quite different. The latter being the home of eminent scientists is probably quite independent of the status of the former. Note that the study doesn’t say that 62% of the world’s scientific stars are American, just that they work in America.

  3. #3 harold
    November 5, 2007

    Actually, Americans in general, despite poor math scores by students, do as well as Europeans and Japanese on some tests of science literacy.

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