Set Students Free

What does it take to be productive in science besides money?

Overall, there are major differences in performance in relation to money spent, and the correlation tends to be that the best performers are countries which, in effect, make sure that young people are set free to pursue their own agenda and express their creativity, and that systems that entrench the young too long in training or in hierarchical structures of apprenticeship and deference to elders don't get the same value for their money.

-- Lord Robert May, President of the (British) Royal Society, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the government of the United Kingdom, and former Head of its Office of Science and Technology. (Interviewed by Jocelyn Selim, "Lord's Advice: Let Your Students Go," Discover, November 2004, pages 23-24. Emphasis added.)

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Last update: 4 March 2006