SEATTLE—While the US economy's recent woes have had the typical cyclical effect of prompting more top students to graduate school in the sciences and engineering, without long-term steps to make science careers more rewarding, the allure of academia could dim once more if the economy revives, cautioned researchers at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting here yesterday (February 16).

“Recessions don't last forever. The problems with our scientific institutions and their career paths remain,” said University of Washington researcher William Zumeta, who along with Joyce Raveling, presented new findings on Monday.

Zumeta and Raveling found that by 2001, the number of top US citizen scorers heading to graduate school in the natural sciences and engineering rose by about 31% from 1998. Top students were defined as those above 750 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the most widely used graduate school entrance exam. A...

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