Science and engineering quality and quantity in 1990



Recently, there has been a major source of concern for the science and engineering community, and, by analogy, for the nation's technical base, in the findings of the joint Department of Education-National Science Foundation Report to the President: ‘Science and Engineering Education in the 1980's and Beyond.’ The study was initiated by Frank Press because of several disturbing reports that raised alarm about shortages in the technical field and about the decline in science and mathematics training of students today. The concern is thus twofold: graduate engineers, in particular, and other personnel with a high level of technical training, will be in short supply in the next decades, and there will be an inadequate supply of university professors, again particularly at the Ph.D. level in engineering and computer sciences, even if there were a supply of students. The report has a serious shortcoming in that it is a collection of previously published reports, many of which are out-of-date. The employment market for chemists, physicists, and earth scientists is changing rapidly. Employment within the petroleum industry research and development and exploration fields is now unique. The table shows supply/demand balances from the report (after Chemical & Engineering News, Nov. 10, 1980).