Peter House is chief analyst and director of the Division of Policy Research and Analysis at the National Science Foundation. In one corner of his 12th-floor office stands a bookcase filled with 30 years' work on public policy analysis and technical assessment. So it's somewhat surprising to the 54-year-old House that a single, 34-page unpublished paper written in 1989 and revised several times since then has attracted so much attention and made him the center of a sharp debate over whether the United States faces a shortage of scientists.

"We began with the fact that the population of college-age people has been declining since the mid-1980s, and will continue to drop until the middle of this decade," he explains. "Then we added in the fraction of Americans earning bachelor's degrees in the natural sciences and engineering [NS&E], a percentage that has been very stable over the past three decades."


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