Xie Yu: is American Science in recession?

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 Xie Yu: is American Science in recession?


In the future, Chinese science will have great development, and we must occupy a dominant position in the multi center scientific ecology. We must start with improving culture and improving the system. This article is first published in the Journal of Finance and Economics (ID:i-caijing). There is no decline in American science, Xie Yu, an American academician and lifelong professor of Princeton University, said in an interview with the finance and economics reporter. The greatest wealth and greatest advantage of American science is not money, nor human, but American culture. Since twenty-first Century, the argument that American science is going to decline is popular in the United States. With the rapid progress of science and technology in China, the controversy surrounding the decline of American science has become more intense. As a sociologist dedicated to empirical research, Xie Yu and his collaborators wrote a monograph: is American Science in recession? It responds to the debate. Xie Yu was the first group of college students to resume after the national college entrance examination. He later studied in the United States and taught in American universities. In 2009, Xie Yu, 50, was elected as the academician of the National Academy of Sciences and became the only Chinese student in the United States since the reform and opening up to the United States, the only Chinese who was elected to the Academy of national sciences in the field of social sciences. Is the famous scientist Shi Yi Gong in the American science declining? My intuition coincides with Xie Yus argument in the preface to the Chinese version. I see a lot of scientific data collected in the book to prove his views, and I often feel full and full of it. With the enhancement of Chinas economic strength and the development of scientific research, the decline theory of American science is also popular in China. Some people even say optimistically, China has surpassed the United States. Xie Yu, a professor of the thousand person program at Peking University, has also taken note of the domestic debate. He cautions that the gap between Chinas science and the United States is narrowing, but the original, frontier science innovation is too little. China is now rich, talented, but lacking in innovative cultural soil. Xie Yu said, in the future, Chinese science should have a great development, to take advantage of the multi center scientific ecology, we should start with the improvement of culture and the improvement of the system. Xie Yu, a professor of the thousand person program at Peking University, has also taken note of the domestic debate. He cautions that the gap between Chinas science and the United States is narrowing, but the original, frontier science innovation is too little. China is now rich, talented, but lacking in innovative cultural soil. Figure /AFP) The three plight of American Science Finance and Economics: in recent years, Chinas science and technology is developing very fast. There is a saying that more and more popular is the decline of American science. Is there a similar argument in the United States? Xie Yu: for a long time, many researchers, policymakers and people have little confidence in the future of the development of Science in the United States. All aspects of the speech have been a constant alarm for the scientific community in the United States. A joint report by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of engineering and the Institute of medical research in 2007 said the United States could lose its leadership in the field of scientific research in the near future. After the release of the report, the policy makers were widely concerned. In one year, Congress received dozens of bills. However, this alarm point has also been challenged by some authorities: the famous think tank Rand Co reports that the state of Science in the United States is not so worrying. In the United States, these arguments are very normal and very meaningful. I published in 2012, is American Science in recession? The book is a response to these arguments. Finance: why do you care about scientific development as a sociologist? Xie Yu: I majored in metallurgy engineering after my graduation. I went to the United States after graduation to study. I read the history of science, and later I studied a major in sociology. The doctoral phase gave up the history of science, but I have always been interested in the history of science. In 1989, I completed my doctoral dissertation, the process of becoming a scientist. I studied what kind of person can become a scientist. After graduating from Ph.D., I went to teach at University of Michigan, focusing on sociological research. My doctoral thesis was not published in that year, and many friends often asked the latest progress in this paper for years, so I invited a former student, Alexandra Zivod, a professor of sociology at the Harvard University, as a collaborator, to complete this book on the basis of my doctoral thesis. Finance and Economics: from the point of view of the topic, this book is quite different from the original doctoral dissertation. Xie Yu: Yes, not just updating the data, but almost rewriting it. Because in the process of cooperation, our research interests have shifted, mainly around the debate about the current state of Science in the United States, and ultimately to answer whether American science is on the decline. Because we have found that there is a real dilemma in American science. Finance and Economics: what are the main difficulties? Xie Yu: first, from the perspective of the demographic structure of American scientists, the proportion of immigrants among scientists has increased rapidly: from 7.2% in 1960 to 27.5% in 2007. Meanwhile, the proportion of scientists born in the United States is decreasing. Finance: before the Second World War, a large number of scientists emigrated to the United States. Xie Yu: but the difference is that at first it was mainly European immigrants. Since the 70s of last century, Asians accounted for the majority. There were obvious changes in race and great changes in quantity. Asian immigrants in the United States are poorer than those in Europe. They have stronger self understanding and closer ties with the exporting countries. More than 1/4 of the scientists are from abroad. The United States is worried that if the immigrant scientists are overly dependent on the supply of immigrant scientists, American science will be in trouble. Second, from 1960s onwards, compared with other professions of the same educational level, the income of American scientists is relatively declining. Especially in basic science, wages are lower than those engaged in Social Sciences, economics, doctors and law, and their attractiveness to young people will also decrease. In addition, the American university education has not been expanded, so the limited teaching staff has caused some professionals to get no teaching posts, such as life sciences. Xie Yu: the wage gap between the United States and the United States is not big, but the research funds in China will be much higher than that in the United States, and the domestic equipment is very good, so many people are willing to return home from abroad. This choice is also due to rational consideration. Finance and Economics: American science is faced with these three plight. It seems that the future development prospects are not optimistic. Xie Yu: but we can not draw the conclusion that American science is declining. There is no recession in American Science Finance and Economics: from what aspects can we see that American science still has its advantages? Xie Yu: American science itself is good, for example, the scale of scientific labor in the United States is growing, the interest and support of the American public is still high, the mathematics and science courses selected by high school students in the United States are more and more achievements, the number of graduates in the US Science major is increasing and the degree of science is obtained. Most of the graduates have found the relevant job... These data negate the pessimists view. Finance: however, the science of other countries is developing, including the rapid development of the Asian region, especially the Chinese science. How do you think of the influence of these countries on the scientific status of the United States? Xie Yu: thats a good question. Science has been a globalized industry from the beginning. In the past hundred years, many frontier scientific achievements were first discovered in the United States. However, the internationalization of education has made these basic knowledge become the common products of the world. Scientists from all over the world have the opportunity to contact and learn American research achievements, especially in the field of basic science. At the same time, Americans can continue to benefit from the achievements of foreign researchers. Fierce competition from abroad does not mean a decline in Science in the United States. It may only account for the ongoing globalization of American science. In a time when other countries are trying to catch up with the United States, American science has no recession even in its own different periods, and of course, it will certainly not dominate. Scientists from different countries are getting closer and closer and more and more cooperation. In the new world order, Americas science, as always, will be faced with great difficulties, but it does not mean that American science will go back. Caijing: it is not the decline of Science in the United States, but the change of the whole international environment, and the rise of Science in other countries. Xie Yu: Yes. Relatively speaking, the leadership of Science in the United States is not as decisive as it used to be. In the past 90 years, the United States is the only center of world science, and the status of this center has been challenged. From the history of scientific development, the world science center has a clear route of transfer: the earliest Science Center was Italy, then moved to Britain, then from France to Germany, and finally moved to the United States in 1920s. Finance: it is easy to draw the conclusion that the world science center will be transferred from the United States to other countries in the near future, according to the historical development model of the continuous transfer of Science Center. Xie Yu: its too early to draw such a conclusion. Unlike other countries, the United States has successfully changed science and achieved full professionalization of science. Only in the United States can science combine with teaching and practice. None of the previous science centers did this. Now all countries follow the American model to develop science and support the development of science with national strength (for example, by investing money and developing education). With the popularization of science, I believe that the future world science may not have a single center as before, but will form a multi center ecological situation. Different countries develop some aspects of science with their own comparative advantages, so as to make different contributions to science. In view of the convenience of Internet communication and the popularity of low-cost airlines, the geographical distance from first-class science centers has become increasingly unimportant. Finance and Economics: this scientific world division of labor is very similar to the division of labor in the economy. Xie Yu: this ecological prototype has emerged. Now, for example, Americans have some ideas, but they dont have to do a lot of things. They bring these ideas to China. The Chinese are making money and in fact further expanding the ideas of the Americans. In other words, some scientific researches in China follow suit and verify, which is a relatively high labor intensity. Why does American science continue to maintain its advantages? Finance: will American science maintain its superiority in the future multi centered scientific ecology? Xie Yu: the answer is yes. Because the greatest wealth and greatest advantage of American science is not money, nor human beings, but the great environment of American society, that is, culture. As a unique social system, science has three characteristics: universalism, emphasis on innovation and efforts to improve public welfare. The three features of American culture and science are compatible. Universalism is the principle that the United States has always adhered to. It is the cornerstone of the concept of equality of opportunity for all. Unlike Europe, which once had a long history of aristocratic privileges, the United States respected the individualist culture and attached great importance to individual independent thinking, rather than respect for authority. Continuous acceptance of new immigrants is a manifestation of American individualism. The size or contribution of an American depends solely on what he has done, which is the principle of universalism and the cultural norms that science has always emphasized. Furthermore, American culture emphasizes innovation. European culture also appreciates innovation. The uniqueness of the United States lies in its encouragement to the creativity of ordinary people. In Tocquevilles words, Americans swept away the privilege of blocking the road and opened the door for equal competition. Science develops because of innovation, and the prosperity of science will promote innovation in turn. American history is a history of technological innovation. Finance and Economics: indeed, the United States is a country that particularly admired innovation. In economics, the founder of the theory of innovation is American economist Inpet. Xie Yu: in addition to the principles of universalism and the concept of emphasis on innovation, American culture also believes that the success of each individual can improve the whole society, and the high level of achievement will improve the social welfare. Therefore, few people who have achieved brilliant achievements in the American society can be appreciated and recognized by the public, and people are also highly tolerant of social inequality. Americans rarely show anger, dissatisfaction or jealousy to a small group of people with high prestige and wealth. So universalism, emphasis on innovation, and commitment to public welfare are the values of American science. Viewed from the world, the combination of the two is the best in the United States, thus fostered powerful scientific creativity. From this we can understand why the United States has been able to maintain the status of the world science center in the past century. Finance: culture is enduring, so do you still have confidence in the future of American science? Xie Yu: American culture is pluralistic, open, free and highly creative. It is the most important culture for science. It is the soft power of scientific development. In other words, soft power of science is a creative work that supports individual creation and anti authority. This kind of soft power is hard to replicate. In the long run, in the fierce international competition environment, the cultural environment conducive to scientific development is the most valuable asset of American science. Although American science is facing some difficulties, the soft power of American scientific development has not declined. In a competitive, highly open, and beneficial environment, American science will continue to flourish as before. If one day such an environment disappeared, that would mean a real decline in American science. To strengthen the soft power of Science Finance and economics: since the reform and opening up, with the continuous enhancement of Chinas economic strength, the investment in science is becoming more and more, and China has become an important participant in the world science research. Xie Yu: This is an accepted fact. Because scientific progress has a significant role in promoting economic growth, all countries in the world regard science and technology investment as a national strategy. Chinas R & D funding is growing rapidly, and higher education is also spreading. The scale of scientific and technological personnel has expanded rapidly. With more and more well-equipped scientific laboratories, the income gap between scientists in China and the United States is narrowing. Chinas first-class research institutions and universities have already provided the treatment and research conditions that are generally equivalent to the better research universities in the United States. In addition, China is also actively striving to introduce foreign talents, especially overseas Chinese scientists, especially those in the United States. So the gap between Chinese science and the United States is narrowing. Finance and Economics: many people think that Chinas science catching up is very obvious, and it may overtake the US in the future. Some people predict that if more money is spent, there may be a Nobel prize blowout in China in the next twenty or thirty years. Xie Yu: This is possible. The Nobel prize does not mean that our science is catching up with the United States. Because some of the Nobel prizes may have been created by chance. Some of the Nobel prizes were knocked out by experiments. The problem is that there are too few original and cutting-edge scientific innovations from China. The essence of science lies in innovation. China is rich and talented, but lacks the cultural soil for innovation. Chinese culture emphasizes that subordinates are subordinate to superiors, and younger generations listen to their elders and respect authority. Such a culture tends to do repetitive work or expand the scale of the work. If you do ten, I do one hundred and one thousand. This is not innovation. Finance and Economics: economist Qian Yingyi said that innovation is from zero to one, while China is good at duplication because of its large population base. Xie Yu: Chinas technical products are very successful, because products are standardized and homogenous and can be compared. Unlike technical products, science is not comparable. A university has several articles, several academicians, and many students. It can be calculated, but scientific achievements can not be completely quantified in the same way. A good idea may be better than 500 ideas. A creative article may be better than the 500 one. Scientists and scientists are not equivalent. Finance: in this sense, the Chinese proverb three stinky cobbler at the top of Zhu Geliang is actually wrong, and one thousand ordinary scientists may not be more than an innovative scientist. Xie Yu: there is no comparison between scientists. Creativity, which is entirely creative and depends on individual imagination, can not be measured by numbers. Chinas problem is to quantify and evaluate scientists and scientific research results in a quantitative way. This is the predicament of the development of Science in China. Chinas management model is effective for the mass production of a product, because it can be measured and copied, the first and the 1000th, 10000th are the same things. But scientists are not so, nor is scientific products. It is very wrong to transplant the management mode of commodity production to the output process of scientific products and put the management industry mode on management scientists. Finance and Economics: because Chinese culture does not encourage innovation, the Chinese peoples ability to innovate has also been questioned. Xie Yu: Chinese people studying and working in the United States are also very creative, so Chinese people are not without creativity, but the cultural environment has depressed creativity. Young people have been emphasizing the respect for authority, the suppression of individual creativity and the suppression of different voices of authority. Even after reading graduate students, they follow their instructors. This culture is detrimental to the development of science. Finance and Economics: that is to say, the soft power of scientific development is a short board of China? Xie Yu: there is still a big gap in Chinas soft power in scientific development. This kind of soft power is not money can buy, and not many people can be piled up. If China does not change the cultural soil and social environment, it is difficult to break through the original basic science. In the future, science in China must have great development and take an advantageous position in the multi center scientific ecology. We must start with improving culture and improving the system. China attaches too much importance to objective indicators, likes GDP and likes SCI, because it makes examination and ranking easier and easier to operate. However, scientific achievement is not simply administrative recognition, but is recognized by the scientific community. If one day, the most famous and active scientists believe that China is the center of Science in the world and the birthplace of the original ideas of original science, then Chinese science has really occupied a position of admirable superiority in the multi center science ecology. Source: editor in charge of Finance and economics magazine: Yao Liwei _NT6056 China attaches too much importance to objective indicators, likes GDP and likes SCI, because it makes examination and ranking easier and easier to operate. However, scientific achievement is not simply administrative recognition, but is recognized by the scientific community. If one day, the most famous and active scientists believe that China is the center of Science in the world and the birthplace of the original ideas of original science, then Chinese science has really occupied a position of admirable superiority in the multi center science ecology.