Reverse Brain Drain?
For decades, the finest scientists and academics from much of the rest of the world, in particular Europe and Asia, were flocking to US universities for research and faculty positions. However, recently, and in particular just this past year, things have been changing at an alarming rate. In response to problems with visas and US immigration and changing attitudes towards science in other parts of the world the US is now witnessing somewhat of a reverse brain drain. This has been discussed in a number of prestegious journals and publications this past year citing not only many scientists packing up and leaving the US, but also many more just not coming over in the first place... as a result Europe is now outpacing the US in many research fields in terms of the number of publications and the recipients of notable awards. This really comes as a shock to many of us in the US since we're so used to just being the best "by default."
For example, Harvard (seen by many as the holly grain of all universities by many on these forums) has a very impressive 41 Nobel Laureate alumni (faculty or students) but I bet few people on these forums would realize that in fact this is totally trumped by Cambridge in Engalnd (a school of equal size) which has 80 alumni, the most of any in the world, and even Oxford comes in higher at 47. Although we certainly still do lots of fantastic stuff in the states, our attitude of just being the best becuase "we're the US" is not only wrong in many respects, but may (and is already starting to) come back to haunt us in the long run...