As our economy continues to fail I would think that it should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that modern mainstream economics is a miserable failure.Mainstream economics poster boy is John Menard Keynes and the resultant School of Keynesian Economics.One of his biggest turnoffs for me was he blamed recessions/depressions on “animal spirits” overtaking those who were in business.If I were to say the reaction between two inductors were caused by something akin to “animal spirits” no one could possibly take me serious.Well then again perhaps someone in government may!The strongly competitive economics is the AustrianSchool who explain econ in terms of human action (see the writings of von Mises).Humans do not respond like atoms or electrons in a perfectly foreseeable way, thus the math of physics cannot be applied.All engineers should be able to understand this.
But Keynesian economics is favored by government as Keynes preached only government could fix problems by injection of money.He did so in 1930 and our government followed his prescription.The Great Depression followed.Oops, not enough spending!!!!Fast forward 80 years.Huge spending programs, yet terrible employment numbers and soon to pass terrible price inflation.We as a society have pushed everyone into universities to get a any type of degree.A lady in Occupy Wall Street complained she had a Masters in Lesbian Studies, yet could not get a job!!! I couldn’t make stuff up like this even if I tried!
I believe engineers and scientists cannot be trained.The “gift” is within us, probably since birth, and it is not blocked by racial, nor economic reasons.Most of us have worked with EEs who really knew their stuff in math and electronics, but who could not come up with a new design or product if their lives depended on it.Educated; yes, intelligent; not very.With others, the vision is clear.
The last thing we need is more politicians, or lawyers making more decisions, such as Congressmen trying to design cars and mandating flush toilets.The free market works while central planning has a very long history of failure.
You are totally right, I am a volunteer at local public school and caused a huge interest into science and engineering since we built a solar powered water fall, a noise meter for classrooms, and now building a wind turbine 3 phase electrical generator..I work with 4 to 8 grade kids, I can tell you, we can make a huge difference and I am doing it.
My self I am not from the US, but I have to pay back to it since I love this country, we need more American kids into STEM, many of them just dream of been a football player, lawyer, hip hop star or to work at mcdonals, also is part culture as mentioned too.
The money is not the problem, there is everything in some schools but no one knows or is afraid to use, I this specific school I was amazed to see an entire cnc wood workshop machinery hidden in storage, new!!!, no ones know how to operate..so here I am, I know part of it and we are working to get that out and create some handy kids...
We all know the lack of good skilled tech workers, I mean one that handles electrical, instrumentation, control, electro-mecanical and more..how will we create those if not many encourage their students into.
Clearly the country needs the highly technical skilled workforce, as well engineers, but also great teachers..who of us wants our kids to be teachers?? none...but we want the best teachers...
Unfortunately for many people, this is a mix of things including hate against immigrants, instead of taking advantage... many say we educate them here then they go abroad to manufacture and sell chinese goods to the US, but, are your Ipads or Ipods made in the US? why not? you know the answer to it...it is all about productivity, do we have it here? train those thousands into tech jobs and will see...but are they willing to go into tech complexities?
At the end, we all need to contribute to this cause, please, volunteer, go to career days, you can change the future for good of many kids, families and this country...
This may be a short term benefit to the US, but is likely to have bad long term consequences to the countries of origin of the students. Returning graduates are needed for the economic development of poorer countries and are also valuable on seeding the leadership of these countries with young adults who have seen the benefits of an open, democratic society. That is portent for US, too.
In one sense, it's really economics that's under attack by physics. Economics is supposed to be a hard science, yet it can't make a correct risk-reward assessment vis a vis the dollars versus cutting STEM-related programs. So how hard of a science can it really be? These economist might as well be anthropologists; not to denegrate that latter, which as far as I can tell have made more positive contributions to the world in the past decade that those vaunted economics, who before the got around to cutting these STEM programs had a big hand in wrecking the U.S. economy.
The silver lining to this dark cloud would be if the state looked at the paltry number of graduates and said: "Let's re-direct the funds to the elementary and high school levels in an effort to spur interest in physics among younger students, so we can later drive up the number of collegians who want to get undergrad degrees in physics. Then we can expand the college physics programs when we see more genuine interest in the subject." Somehow, though, I doubt this is happening.
I agree completely, Dave. But I'm concerned about our ability to change our education system to produce students who are both capable and motivated to succeed in hard science. We've looked at everything to improve our education system -- more spending per student, cracking the teacher unions so we can improve teachers, uniforms, standardized testing, and on and on.
I no longer think there's a key. I'm coming to think it's the culture, not the education system -- or, difficulties in the education system can't be corrected until there are changes in the culture.
By drawing on international students, we're drawing on the results of cultures that are more focused on the importance of education excellence.
@Rob Spiegel: Giving permanent resident status to international students who complete an advanced degree in the U.S. would certainly be a short term solution to increase the supply of science and engineering talent available to private industry in the U.S. However, I suspect it would have a dirsuptive effect on university research.
Right now, many academic departments rely heavily on an essentially captive labor force of international students and postdocs to provide teaching assistants, research assistants, etc. Many of these students would not be doing this work -- which is poorly paid, underappreciated, and often demands superhuman hours -- if they had the opportunity to work in private industry.
Of course, it could be argued that maybe universities ought to pay graduate research and teaching assistants at rates which are more competitive with private industry. This is probably true, but seems that it would require major changes to the ways universities do things.
In any case, relying on developing countries to provide us with a science and engineering workforce is only a short term solution at best. At some point, we need to train our own people.
There are some many problems to solve in our education system that would drive up the number of students on physics, that the quickest road to more Ph.D.s in the field might be Tom Friedman's suggestion. Take each science diploma earned by an international student and stable a green card to it.
This is especially important at a time when an increasing percentage of our bright international students are returning home with their degrees rather than making a life in the United States.
A better title for this article might be "Laws of Physics Under Attack by Political Science." The economics of supporting STEM education are clear.
Since the early 2000s, the majority of physics PhD's granted by U.S. universities have been to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This is true even despite an overall decline in the number of international students in the post-September 11, 2001 era.
The majority of engineering PhD's granted by U.S. universities also go to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Arguably, however, this has to do with the fact that engineers who are citizens or permanent residents can get jobs in industry with a bachellor's or master's degree, and only rarely stick around to get doctorates. International students have a harder time getting jobs in industry - many employers don't want to go through the paperwork and bureaucratic hassles required to sponsor a visa - so they tend to stay in academia and get doctorates, do post-doctoral research, etc.
Personally, I'm glad that so many international students come to the U.S. to study. Having classmates from many different countries made my educational experience better.
That being said, there are a lot of potentially talented kids in the U.S. who aren't getting the chance to develop their abilities. We like to believe that anyone can be successful in the U.S. with hard work, creativity, and talent. That statement is probably more true in the U.S. than it is in just about any other country - but there are still a lot of kids who have the cards stacked against them.
The fact is that many students, especially low-income and minority students, receive a sub-standard primary and secondary education which doesn't prepare them well for college. And as this article points out, for those who do manage to make it to college, the community colleges and universities which serve low-income and minority students are often the first to face budget cuts. This is the reality we live in.
The causes of this are complex, but the consequences are clear: an erosion of scientific and engineering talent, with troubling implications for economic growth and national security.
I would encourage any and all engineering professionals who are concerned about this to get involved in tutoring and mentoring programs. If you don't have time to tutor students every week, volunteer to give a career day presentation, judge a science fair, or speak to a science class. All of us are very fortunate to have benefited from an engineering education. Now is the time to pay it forward.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is