Ask anyone in the United Kingdom which city in their country contains the greatest number of working scientists and you’re al most sure to hear it’s London. But if you ask which cities grew the fastest in number of publishing scientists during the last decade, probably few would guess Nottingham and Leicester.

Yet, these two Midlands cities outpaced all others in a list of the top 20 science-active cities in the United Kingdom, according to a recent analysis by The Scientist.

The scientific population of Nottingham grew at an average annual rate of 25.2% between 1977 and 1987, while that of Leicester grew at an annual rate of 23.8%—far above the 14.1% average for the other 18 in the group.

In terms of absolute numbers, however, thirteenth-ranking Nottingham and eighteenth-ranking Leicester—with 1,486 and 967 publishing scientists, respectively—don’t even compete with London, which claimed more than 18,000 within its borders in...

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