In the book Shoeless Joe, better known as the movie Field of Dreams, the main character converts an Iowa cornfield into a baseball field after a voice says, "If you build it, he will come." In Great Falls, Mont., supporters of the McLaughlin Research Institute (MRI) began construction of a 42,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art, genetics research facility on prairie farmland in 1991 with the hope that if they built it, scientists would come.

The new building, constructed with federal and state funds, was completed in 1993. And the researchers have indeed come, inspired by quality-of-life issues that are making Montana's remoteness attractive. Montana's two state universities and a federal biomedical research laboratory also are experiencing the boon of scientists wanting to seek their fortunes in the state.

Just 20 to 30 years ago, scientists who came to Montana ran the risk of jeopardizing their careers. The state's seclusion limited professional contacts...

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