Monday, April 03, 2006

Not enough engineers?

In an article about our missile science slumping, a funny thing happened; the author demonstrated that he can ruin a good discussion point about a lack of educated physicists, engineers, and mathmeticians - by proving how he was ill served.
Not only are fewer American engineers and scientists choosing to work on missile technology, there are fewer of them altogether, the report says. Each year, about 70,000 Americans receive undergraduate and graduate science and engineering degrees that are defense related, compared with a combined 200,000 in China and India, the report says.
Let's do a little math here:

Nation---Population---Engineers/Sci Grads----% of Population
USA-------295,734,134-----70,000------------2.37e-4 (0.0237%)

OK, I will give you they make more numbers wise, but as a % of the population, we are still ahead. You really want to attack the problem at university WRT engineering and science Masters and PhDs - put a strict limit on the flood of foreign grad students at our universities. Having spent some time last football season sitting with a gaggle of engineering grad students at a major State university (and based on my experience over 15 years ago) let me tell you what affect this has. By their numbers, they drive down the value of a grad student to little more than chattel. A native born American just has too many other opportunities for the buck in their mid 20s working at subsistence wages as an Asst. Professor, much less a TA.

On top of that, with a bunch of folks who can barely speak English trying to relate to your standard issue American 18-19 year old taking first semester Calculus or Physics - and you are driving some of your best and brightest out of technical fields. Restrict the flow (don't get rid of it - American gets some great minds) and raise the value of getting an advanced degree instead of doing something else.

I don't think USA Today will come out with that option....


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