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Perusing the September 10 issue of Science, I noticed that the journal had somewhat more heft than usual. Further investigation revealed that the red-edged pages in the back of the issue were apparently responsible for the additional poundage.

What appears at the back of this—and related—scientific journals? The job listings, of course. All the open scientific positions, mostly university based, but also a fair smattering of other kinds of nonprofit institutions, as well as industrial opportunities.

By my count, 194 openings were displayed for seemingly wonderful research and teaching positions. Curious, I pulled last year’s issue for the second week of September. Again, many listings, but only a total of 151. An increase of 28.5% over the course of the last year!

Two conclusions:

  1. I will take the healthy increase in science employment opportunities to be a good sign for the continuing, even if slow, recovery from global recession.

  2. Derek de Solla Price’s assertion from many years ago—the number of scientists in the world has doubled every 15 years for the past 300 years—appears to be accelerating.

If I weren’t too busy (or too lazy), I’d dig deeper into science-employment statistics and trends. As it is, I’ll just console myself with the thought that if #2 above is true, pretty soon there will be more scientists than there are people. What a thought.

Posted In: Education | History

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