March 17th, 2009

CS enrollments back up

The NY Times reports that undergraduate enrollments in computer science programs are back up. The explanation: competing alternatives for people with the required skill set have gotten less attractive. Investment banking is no longer luring people away. It’s further supporting evidence for Richard Freeman’s work on how numbers fluctuate in different careers – people on … read more


May 22nd, 2008

Japan worried about engineering “shortages,” too

The New York Times reports this week that “Japan is running out of engineers.” The reasons cited: fewer young people, reduced enrollment rates in engineering classes, and an unwillingness on the part of foreigners to immigrate. This is pretty telling: Some young Japanese, products of a rich society, unfamiliar with the postwar hardships many of … read more


May 7th, 2008

Making the Grade

Nature this week has an opinion piece about the continued mediocre ranking of the US in standardized tests of mathematics and science. The authors claim that the tests don’t really matter that much because 1) it’s the proportion of very high scorers that matters, not the mean, and 2) a lot of the countries that … read more


April 20th, 2008

“How Scientific Gains Abroad Pay Off in the U.S.”

An interesting piece in today’s NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/technology/20ping.html Quick summary: it’s getting easier for US companies to farm out research tasks to low wage countries. America is becoming a “postscientific society”: our future value-add will be in “product design, marketing and finance” not in scientific innovation. In the short-term at least, higher spending on scientists … read more


November 27th, 2007

White House Round Table Views

There were two viewpoints that were in evidence at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy meeting on graduate and postdoctoral education earlier this month. The first view, which was most thoughtfully articulated by Michael Teitelbaum, Vice President of the Sloan Foundation, is that the national discussion on science funding has focused too … read more


July 4th, 2007

The Flattened World

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article by Pui-wang Tam and Jackie Range – “Some in Silicon Valley Begin to Sour on India”. (Contact me if you can’t get a copy of the article). The authors interview a number of small and large business managers in Silicon Valley who have pulled out their … read more


May 10th, 2007

Meanwhile in the Senate…

I’ve just taken a look at the Senate’s hefty bill to reauthorize the NSF, S 761. Like the House equivalent, there are some good and interesting things in the bill. There is a lot of new money for graduate fellowships: IGERT – Increased funding to the IGERT program, like in the House bill. This would … read more


April 26th, 2007

More Graduate Students – Brought to You by IGERT

The increase in graduate students discussed earlier in the week just came a step closer to reality: the House and Senate just passed a set of bills that will steer a big chunk of funding toward new graduate fellowships, among other things. I assume there will be some negotiation in conference over the final form, … read more


April 24th, 2007

More Graduate Students?

There have been a few bills working their way through Congress that seek to significantly increase the number of graduate students. Why now, at a time when people are asking, “Are we training too many PhDs?” Much of the current impetus comes from the National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm — the bills … read more


April 16th, 2007

Rising Above the Gathering Storm

Last week’s news about the H-1B visa quota being reached (and dramatically exceeded) in one day has triggered some discussion about immigration in general, and Rising Above the Gathering Storm in particular. As usual, Bob has assembled a bunch of interesting links about the H-1B program in his comments. Given the long history of bogus … read more