July 9, 2009

Herd of U.S. scientists may soon thin

Analysts say a lack of a concrete professional future may be responsible for U.S. nationals' limited interest in scientific fields.

USA Today said Thursday, citing analysts' comments, fewer and fewer U.S. nationals are choosing to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields likely because those fields offer fewer career advantages than finance or law careers.

The comments come as the unemployment rate for electrical engineers hit 8.6 percent in the second quarter compared to 4.1 percent in the first quarter, the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation told USA Today there are simply not enough attractive jobs to satisfy the engineers and scientists graduating in the United States.

Yet John Marburger, who served as the top science adviser for former U.S. President George W. Bush, has downplayed talk of shortages in the fields of science and engineering.

We definitely need more computer scientists and some kinds of electrical engineers, Marburger said. We need more technicians of all kinds. We probably do not need more string theorists, but we do need more physicists and chemists working on exotic materials.