A touch of acrimony is infused into many diplomatic relationships between the United States and European nations. But if the events of recent months are any indication, European scientists are envious of their American counterparts. One proposed new institution after another is being overtly modeled on something already in existence in the United States.

Much of last year, for example, was devoted to a strongly felt debate about the extent to which the new European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ought to be modeled on its stateside forerunner in Atlanta. Then, this year, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, ruffled some Euro-feathers when he suggested that the bloc should make a priority of setting up a European Institute of Technology, modeled on Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in order to "attract the brightest minds in the world."

Meanwhile, German politicians are determinedly working toward establishing an elite "Ivy...

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