If you go along with the theory that the scientific mind functions best when it’s young, the West is head big for trouble—and Japan is in great shape.

That’s the conclusion a youthcultist might draw from a recent National Science Foundation comparison of industrial and govern- ment scientists’ age distribution patterns in five countries France, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, and West Germany. When plotted on a curve, Japan’s population of scientists and engineers bulges dramatically at a younger age than the population of scientists in the US., France, and West Germany, according to NSF figures. For example, in Japan 48% of scientists and engineers sur- veyed were under the age of 35, while only 7% were over 55. To the contrary, 28% of US. scientists were under 35, while 19% were over 55.

The agency’s numbers represent a distillation of census figures taken in the early 190s. the most...

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