Magazine article The Futurist

No Future in Science? (Society)

Magazine article The Futurist

No Future in Science? (Society)

Article excerpt

Top graduates from U.S. colleges are increasingly rejecting careers in science and engineering, according to a study by the University of Washington. Instead of pursuing the few openings for scientists in academia or entering low-paid apprenticeships in engineering and other technical professions, science grads are choosing higher-paying, faster-growing jobs in business and health care.

"With the notable exception of biological sciences, many of the top U.S. students with potential to become scientists are turning toward other career paths," says the study's coauthor, William Zumeta, associate dean of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

The researchers tracked U.S. residents scoring in the top 5%-7% on the Graduate Record Exam between 1992 and 2000. Those planning to study science and engineering at the graduate level fell by 8%. while those planning to enter other fields increased by 7%. Future mathematicians fell by 19%. and future engineers, 25%. Science and engineering majors instead helped swell business-school enrollments during that period.

"One must wonder how successful the United States can be in the technological age without a dependable flow of home-grown talent into the ranks of researchers and eventually scientific, industrial, and policy leaders," says Zumeta. …

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