In this issue, we pay special attention to the thousands of young men and women across the United States who have just received their degrees in science and are about to step into the next phase of developing their careers.

The Scientist congratulates all of them and wishes them well. For those who elect to persist in their scientific pursuits, the road ahead, judging from a number of indicators, is likely to be bumpy; their path toward intellectual, creative, and professional fulfillment isn't going to be an easy one.

Why, indeed, should a young man or woman choose to forge ahead in a science career today rather than pursue, say, investment banking, real estate, or advertising? Issue after issue of this publication reports on the crisis in research funding; competition for jobs in many disciplines seems to be heating up; and although salaries in several scientific fields are on the...

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