Saturday, November 13, 2010

US No Longer A "Collosus of Science"

I think most of us who work in science (especially physics) and have seen the slow erosion of  funding in the physical science would not be surprised by this development. A Thomson Reuters survey of scientific output has shown a decline in scientific publication from the US when compared to Europe and Asia-Pacific countries.

The report, released yesterday, notes that the Asia-Pacific region has now overtaken the US in terms of published papers and spending on research. In 2008 the US invested $384bn while Asian countries invested $387bn in total, and while researchers in the US published around 310,000 papers in 2009, over 330,000 were published by scientists in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the physical sciences, the report notes that investment in physics and engineering in the US has "taken a back seat" compared to the biological science at a time when countries in Asia are increasing their spending on research in the physical sciences. "In physics, the trend for the US in terms of world share is distinctly downward," says the report. 

I have no idea if US politicians actually know about this, or even care! The incoming Republican congress does not even mention anything about the important of science, science funding, and education. And science certainly was dismissed by many of the Tea Party candidate, some of which blatantly proclaimed that Evolution is wrong. So would I be blamed if I see the Dark Ages of Science coming to the US?


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