For years the US has maintained its dominance in science by attracting enough young scientists from all over the world to learn, teach, and work here. Now there are signs that US pre-eminence is eroding, in part because foreign researchers have learned they can find the critical mass of financial support and well-trained colleagues and technical staff in their own countries. A report in The New York Times Monday listed indicators of slipping US superiority. Since 1983, US authorship of articles in physical science journals has dropped from 61 per cent to 29 per cent last year.

To ensure that discoveries continue to be made in the US, the nation must reverse the years of decline in the number of US-born students who become scientists. Proposals are on for improving elementary and high school math and science education. According to the National Science Foundation, the number of scientists from China, Taiwan, and India who intend to remain in the US has been on a steady decline since the late 1990s. This is happening at the same time that many US-born scientists who were inspired by the post-Sputnik push for research are retiring.

Also, since 9/11 the US has established new rules for granting visas for scientists who work in fields that could be useful to terrorists. The government must find better ways to clear foreigners for research here. — The Boston Globe