Considering California’s lavish status as a recipient of federal science funding, its nickname—the Golden State—is especially appropriate. As most people in the science community are by now well aware, it is the king of the 50 states as far as getting research money from the Department of Defense’s University Research Initiative is concerned; that fact has been well publicized during the last two years, thanks to a congressional effort to limit California’s share of the DOD funding pie.

But the state is king of much more. Indeed, according to a National Science Foundation tally of total science and engineering money awarded to schools by 15 federal agencies, the Golden State emerges as the top dog by a healthy margin.

Uneven Distribution

Awards from federal science and engineering programs as a whole hardly distribute money evenly over the country, a cording to NSF. The agency figured each state’s share based on...

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