Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Global Science Shifting East?

A unique biotech center has developed in the authoritarian city-state of Singapore. Called the Biopolis, it has already attracted hundreds of scientists from all over the world, including many top researchers attracted by the idea of being able to conduct basic research without having to worry about funding. "I could also have gone to the United States, but I decided to go to Asia instead," she says, vigorously adding: "Things are really happening here right now." Her sponsor, Swiss biophysicist Markus Wenk, came to the island from prestigious Yale University. "In the West", he says, "the structures are set in stone and the professors established. But here there is a sense of dynamics and change." Wenk is clearly a convert: "From a global perspective, everything in science is shifting to the East." US and European government officials who deal with the scientific world have reached the same conclusion. The New York Times wrote that "the United States is losing its dominant position in the sciences", citing as evidence the decline in scientific publications originating in the United States -- as opposed to a steady increase in publications authored by Asian researchers.


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