A Decline In Mathematics Threatens Science—And The U.S.

Earlier this year, an article in the New York Times magazine discussed the work of Yale historian Paul Kennedy, who believes that the United States is in decline. In part, the article said: “Beginning in the 1960’s, Kennedy and his colleagues explain, when Japan and West Germany were busy rebuilding their heavy industries, encouraging private savings and cultivat- ing public education around mathematics and the sciences, America began to experience the chronic ailments of a maturing economy.” These ailments included “deteriorating schools.”

One could argue endlessly about whether—or how seriously—the U.S. is in decline. But there is one trend that is all too visible: Mathematics in the U.S. is paying the price of deteriorating schools—and the American failure to give mathematics education its due.

One sign of the impending crisis in mathematics is the dwindling supply of U.S. citizens among the recipients...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?