The United States has slipped from second place to 13th out of 34 countries in the number of students enrolled in university, and it is stagnating in science teaching—in 17th place—and doing poorly in math, in 25th place. In contrast, more Chinese are enrolling in universities, which means there will be more scientists in China than there are in the US, driving up Chinese scientific output, said Penn State professor Caroline Wagner at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
At a time when the greed of bankers has forced United States and Europe to make severe cuts in government spending on social services, but also on support for industry and science, China has significantly increased spending on science and technology, said Denis Simon—a professor at Penn State University who is also the science and technology adviser to the mayor of the Chinese city of Dalian—at the AAAS meeting. Simon said that the Chinese hope to spend around 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the sum of a nation’s annual output, on research and development by 2020.
In the United States, Republican lawmakers are talking about trimming a billion dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world’s largest public research institute, and slashing funds for other science and research agencies, negating the billion dollar boost President Barack Obama proposed for science and health research in his 2012 budget. Republicans want to make Joe and Jane pay in poorer wages and conditions for the trillion dollar US deficit, much of which was incurred by the treasury in bailing out moribund banks “too big to fail”. Knowing that, the mainly Republican banksters milked their bonus scam—collecting huge bonuses for selling and reselling junk bonds in a type of Ponzi scheme which inevitably would collapse, but not before bankers and financiers had lined their pockets at the expense of the taxpayer.
The Republicans also want to slash funds for education by some $5 billion, even though Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, has warned that the United States must better educate its kids, especially in science and math, or risk becoming uncompetitive in the global economy.
Another sign that China is moving to the top of the science league, the number of quality scientific papers coming out of the country—measured by how often they are cited in other studies—is growing exponentially. How often a peer reviewed scientific paper is cited by another scientist is a key measure of quality. The proportion of Chinese papers being cited is up, while the proportion of citations of US and European papers is down. China already produces more research papers in the fields of natural science and engineering than the United States, which as yet remains in total the biggest producer of scientific papers in the world. But Wagner warned:
On current trends, China will publish more papers in all fields by 2015.