Dear Nancy:

I read wIth Interest your editorial, "students abroad also spurn science." For many decades, the US has acted as a colonial power, not reaping benefits from physical colonies, but by fishing for talent, taking the world's best and brightest.

This is often justified in the US as being open minded and giving such talent a place to develop, but much of that developed talent never returns home to uplift their respective countries. Rather, they fill up slots here that could be filled by US citizens.

Let me address an important aspect of your article, of science research not being attractive. why should it be? Tell anyone on the street that you work in science, and if you are young they are liable to sneer at you, and ask why aren't you pursuing something better like communications, law, or medicine?

Unfortunately, the personnel running the research institutions presently are "gaming" the system, doing everything they can to retain power bases and money in the short term at the expense of US citizens. Consider the precipitous drop in industrial laboratories, or the shortage in funding provided by the government to its department of energy (DoE) research laboratories or its department of defense (DoD) laboratories. the flagship research lab for the department of the Navy, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), does not feel compelled to provide its staff with salaries covered by their own internal operating funds as standard procedure. Instead, the managers running the lab with their navy brass have told their staff to go out and find part or all of their salaries at other institutions.

The US is in a terrible situation presently, having neglected its basic research and development infrastructure for nearly 35 years. This is why we have an oil crisis, a housing market crisis, and an energy crisis. It is related to a nation without much of the moral fiber and character, as had its original founding women and men in the late 1700s, to make the important decisions from producing men and women of character for all of its elected officials, from lowest to highest, to taking the important steps necessary to vouchsafe our research, production,technology and industrial bases.

Again thanks for bringing up a number of very intriguing points in your piece.

Dr. Clifford M. Krowne
Microwave Technology Branch
Electronics Science & Technology Division
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington, DC 20375-5347
E-mail: cliff.krowne@nrl.navy.mil