US spends more on potato chips than on energy R&D-Former CEO, Lockheed Martin

in technology, education

In a column written on Forbes.com Norm Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, says Americans do not prefer science and technology education and US is losing its edge in innovation.

The current and past success of the United States has lot to do with the strong science and technology research and education. 

"Part of the problem is the lack of priority U.S. parents place on core education." Norma says.  He also adds "there are also problems inherent in our public education system. We simply don’t have enough qualified math and science teachers. Many of those teaching math and science have never taken a university-level course in those subjects."  Is it not a pity?

Norm, himself an engineer, wanted to teach in a school after he retired only to find that he was not qualified to teach eigth graders.

Another big problem that he points out is that "already, 70% of engineers with PhD’s who graduate from U.S. universities are foreign-born. Increasingly, these talented individuals are not staying in the U.S – instead, they’re returning home, where they find greater opportunities."

He lists the following alarming statistics:
•U.S. consumers spend significantly more on potato chips than the U.S. government devotes to energy R&D.
•In 2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies.
•China has replaced the U.S. as the world’s number one high-technology exporter. •Between 1996 and 1999, 157 new drugs were approved in the U.S.  Ten years later, that number had dropped to 74.
•The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. #48 in quality of math and science education

Norman may be correct.  We cuddle with the innovations of ipad, ipod and facebook, when other countries research and build wind farms, clean coal power plants and supercomputers.  Facebook might have brought 20 billion to its owners, but I doubt what national weath is created by such ventures. 

If Norm is right, time is not far away when others will leap into the next century as US will look on.

 Source: Forbes.com

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