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Mobility Will Boost East European Science

The political and social tidal wave that recently swept over Eastern Europe is sure to change the lives of its scientists. Restructuring the centralized economies will probably make conditions worse before they get better, and that means government support for science may shrink. On the other hand, if investment from joint ventures with science-based companies in the West begins to flow in, scientists may find their laboratories filled with equipment they could never before afford, owing to the

David Pendlebury

The political and social tidal wave that recently swept over Eastern Europe is sure to change the lives of its scientists. Restructuring the centralized economies will probably make conditions worse before they get better, and that means government support for science may shrink. On the other hand, if investment from joint ventures with science-based companies in the West begins to flow in, scientists may find their laboratories filled with equipment they could never before afford, owing to the lack of hard currency.

There's one thing, however, that has never been lacking in Eastern Europe: scientific brainpower. A recent field-by-field analysis of scientific performance shows Czechoslovakia to be strong in chemistry; Hungary and Poland in mathematics; and East Germany in mathematics, engineering, and physics. Even the relatively weaker Romania and Bulgaria have their niches: chemistry for Romania, and mathematics and chemistry in Bulgaria (A. Schubert, W. Glänzel, T. Braun, Scientometrics,...

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