Friday, March 23, 2018

More evidence of the rise of China

A regular story in the ranking world is the rise of Asia, usually as a warning to stingy Western governments who fail to give their universities the money that they desperately need to be world-class.

Sometimes the rise of Asia turns out to be nothing more than a methodological tweaking or a bug that allows minor fluctuations to be amplified. Asia often turns out to be just East Asia or sometimes even just Shanghai and Peking. But it still remains true that China, followed perhaps by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, is steadily becoming a scientific superpower and that the USA and Europe are entering a period of relative decline.

This blog has already noted that China has overtaken the West in supercomputing power and in the total output of scientific publications.

David Goldman of Asia Times, writing in Breitbart, has reported another sign of the rise of China: the number of doctorates in STEM subjects is well ahead of the USA. And we should remember that many of those doctorates are Chinese nationals or of Chinese descent who may or may not remain in the US.

“What I’m concerned about is the fact that China is testing a railgun mounted on a navy ship before the United States is and that China has the biggest quantum computing facility in the world about to open,” said Goldman. “It probably has more advanced research in quantum communications than we have, and they’re graduating twice as many doctorates in STEM fields than we are. That’s what really frightens me.”

There are, of course, some areas where US researchers reign supreme such as gaming research and gender, queer and trans studies. But I suspect that is not something that will help the US win the coming trade wars or any other sort of war.

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