Erica P. Johnson

New US visa restrictions, prompted by fears of renewed terrorist attacks, present a dilemma to people in science: How does the government guarantee the public safety and yet sustain the free exchange of research and researchers? Many observers say post-Sept. 11 limitations have already put scientific research at risk. Visas are harder to get and sometimes denied. Federal grants arrive with strings attached--restricted participation by researchers from overseas. And some academics fear more of them will pursue careers elsewhere, draining the country of some of its brightest minds and compromising the role of the United States as a leader in scientific ideas and discovery.

"A lot of these students make tremendous impacts on the United States," says Steven Hoch, dean of International Programs at the University of Iowa, where federal authorities last fall refused at least 51 student visas. "They give a tremendous boost to our economy...

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