[IP] The decline of techical America (and with it US security djf) (fwd)

Eugen Leitl eugen@leitl.org
Fri, 10 Jan 2003 17:57:57 +0100 (CET)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 06:51:59 -1000
From: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>
To: ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>
Subject: [IP] The decline of techical America (and with it US security djf)

Graduate study in sciences, engineering fell during decade

By Kristi Heim 
Mercury News Seattle Bureau

College graduates in the United States lost interest in many science and
engineering fields in the past decade, two recent studies have found,
raising concerns about the future vitality of the nation's technology
industry. 

>From 1992 to 2000, top-performing college seniors planning graduate study in
mathematics fell by 19 percent and those going into engineering graduate
programs fell by 25 percent, according to a study by the University of
Washington. The one bright spot was biological sciences, which showed a 59
percent gain, the study found.

In the same period, the number of students receiving master's degrees in
business administration increased by almost a third. After graduation,
science majors increasingly abandoned scientific fields, turning instead to
business and health professions, the study found.

The authors of the study blamed the decline in interest on lengthy training
and apprenticeship programs, modest compensation and dearth of opportunities
for independent research.

Researchers tracked all U.S. citizens and permanent residents scoring at
least 750, or the top 5 percent to 7 percent, on the Graduate Record Exam,
the widely used graduate-school entrance exam.

Using another measure, the University of Washington researchers tracked
2,000 senior natural-science majors from five top U.S. colleges, finding
that the number of science majors who were not planning graduate study in
science and engineering more than doubled from 9 percent in 1984 to 19
percent in 1998. 

Indeed, the number of science and engineering doctorate degrees awarded in
the United States dropped by 7 percent from 1998 to 2001, according to a
separate National Science Foundation study made public this week.

However, enrollment in science and engineering graduate programs rose in
1999 and 2000 -- the latest years for which data is available.

Leaders of Silicon Valley technology companies have expressed increasing
worry about the declines in science education among U.S. students.

``One must wonder how successful the United States can be in the
technological age without a dependable flow of homegrown talent,'' said
William Zumeta, professor and associate dean in the school of public
affairs, and co-author of the University of Washington study.

The number of doctorate degrees awarded in China, Russia and India, by
contrast, is rising, as is the number of foreign graduates of U.S. science
and engineering Ph.D. programs. 

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