The typical U.S. scientist is a white male college professor of around 50 who juggles teaching and research, has been in his job a decade or more, and earns between $50,000 and $60,000 a year, according to a survey of almost 700 researchers undertaken by THE SCIENTIST.

His salary accounts for almost all of his income, although he makes a little extra from such activities as consulting, honoraria, writing and, in one case, growing grapes. His employer underwrites a long vacation, sick leave and professional travel, and picks up part of the bill for his retirement plan and insurance, which includes hospitalization, major medical, dental, life, and disability. The scientist thinks these benefits are adequate, but not excellent. He pays for his own books and journal subscriptions.

The survey instrument was mailed late last fall to more than 3,500 U.S. scientists in six disciplines: biology, physics, chemistry, earth sciences,...

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