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Assessing the State of ­.s. Science and Engineering


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National Science Board Science and Engineering Indicators committee chairman Louis Lanzerotti

"The American public has a very strong view of the importance of science and engineering for our country," says Louis Lanzerotti, chairman of the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators committee.

Credit: National Science Board

New Jersey Institute of Technology physicist Louis Lanzerotti, chairman of the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators committee, says the board's recent report to the White House on the state of science and engineering is generally positive. The United States is very robust in terms of research and development (R&D), but there are areas where it is falling behind the rest of the world, Lanzerotti says.

Lanzerotti notes that countries such as Japan and South Korea are surpassing the United States in the portion of their gross domestic product committed to R&D. Lanzerotti also notes a slight uptick in the performance of basic research by U.S. industry since around 2006 or 2007, a trend he says mirrors what is happening worldwide.

Lanzerotti maintains that the public perception of science and engineering in the United States is very high, with 75 percent to 80 percent of the population viewing it in a positive light. "I think a very important point is that scientists rank as high in public respect as do firefighters," he says.

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