In Rio Linda, Calif., on Oct. 4, 1957, my seventh grade classmates and I (the front edge of the baby boom) were busily clipping news accounts of Sputnik for our daily current-events assignment. Less than a year later, we became the first eighth grade class in the school’s history to enroll in Algebra I. Our personal race with the chess-playing Soviet students had begun.

Mary Lou Mongan
Sausalito, Calif.

The budding scientists and engineers of the sixties who were the recipients of the Sputnik-inspired money “poured into math and science education” are now aging baby boomers. We are in a catch-up situation all over again. There is a frightening lack of young professors of science and engineering. Fully half or more of our graduate students in science and engineering are foreign nationals, who heretofore have remained in this country. However, globalization and the wealth of opportunities in their home countries have meant that even these bright technologists are leaving, creating a more intense vacuum in technological higher education. Without new investment similar in urgency and magnitude to that of the late fifties, the United States will fall further behind in one of the few assets keeping our nation and economy vibrant: an edge in technology and innovation.

David M. Hirsch
Providence, R.I.