May 7-13, 2000

I. Event:

The President is scheduled to proclaim May 7-13, 2000 as "Global Science and Technology Week."  The purpose of this proclamation is to highlight the international nature of science and to emphasize the importance of an internationally diverse and open scientific enterprise.  The increasing international movement of people and ideas in science and technology advances discovery, strengthens our economy, improves our quality of life, and enhances our ability to address issues of common global concern -- poverty, disease, environmental degradation, and sustainable energy production.  Thus, Global Science and Technology Week is intended to emphasize the benefits our nation receives through international scientific collaboration and to celebrate the international diversity of scientists in our own country.  In doing so, it is particularly hoped that the week will help young students foster an appreciation for international perspectives that will better prepare them to participate in the world's interdependent high-tech economy and  the global scientific community.

II. Background:

At its core, science is an international undertaking.  The fundamental workings of nature the function of a gene, the quantum behavior of matter and energy, the chemistry of the atmosphere are not the sole province of any one nation.  Louis Pasteur noted more than a century ago that, "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world."

In recent decades the internationalization of science has expanded rapidly around the globe.  The percentage of scientific papers with authors from more than one country has increased 200 percent from 1981 to 1995.  In 1997, international collaboration accounted for almost one third of all coauthored articles.  We have also seen a steady global spread of the research enterprise, with new countries and new competitors joining world technological leaders in their investments in science and innovation.  For example, in 1950 the United States contributed about 40 percent of world GDP, and carried out about 70 percent of the world's R&D.  By 1997, the United States contributed 27 percent of world GDP, and conducted about 40 percent of the world's R&D.

While Global Science and Technology Week is hoped to emphasize the value of international scientific collaboration, it also intended to recognize our country's unique internationally diverse "melting pot" of scientists developing the foundation of our own nation's strong economy.  For example, almost 50 percent of all foreign students that received U.S. Ph.D. degrees in science and engineering during 1990-1991 were still residing in the United States nearly five years later, adding their talents and skills to our S&T workforce when evidence suggests that a shortage of S&T workers may be slowing our country's economic growth.  In 1998, Chinese and Indian engineers, most of whom arrived in the United States after 1970 to pursue graduate studies, were senior executives at one-quarter of Silicon Valley's new technology businesses and accounted for more than $16.8 billion in sales and 58,282 jobs.  Also, as we work to better engage our culturally and ethnically diverse U.S. population to pursue careers in science and technology, we have already seen that foreign-born scientists and engineers accounted for nearly one-third of Silicon Valley's engineering workforce in 1990, and even higher numbers are projected after the 2000 census.  Those foreign born scientists and engineers who return to their home countries after studying or working in the United States provide lifelong bridges to the science and economic development that occurs abroad.

Moreover, the United States' successes in the 1999 Nobel Prizes in science occurred thanks to four scientists, all foreign-born.  Regarding our young scientists, 20 percent of this year's U.S. finalists in one of America's oldest and most highly regarded pre-college science competitions, the Intel Science Talent Search, were born outside the United States.  The U.S. winner, a young woman born in Romania, will represent the United States at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which brings together over 1,200 high-school students from 40 nations for a prestigious, international science competition that will attract 2000 additional representatives from business, industry, the sciences, academia and several Nobel Laureates.

While the number of American students studying abroad is still small compared to the number of international students studying in the United States, the percentage of science and engineering courses taken by American students overseas for credit in U.S. universities has doubled from 1987 to 1995.  Also, to help U.S. students understand technological developments in different cultural contexts, study and work abroad components have been formally integrated into the engineering programs of approximately 25 major U.S. universities.

III. Activities:

President Clinton's scheduled proclamation of May 7-13, 2000 as "Global Science and Technology Week" will celebrate the expanding opportunity for the world's best scientific minds to transcend national boundaries and collaborate on new discoveries and shared global problems. Also, it is especially hoped that activities organized during Global Science and Technology Week will infuse an appreciation for the "international nature of science" in young people throughout the United States and help them recognize the international diversity of scientists within their own country.  A sampling of the events during the week that particularly focus upon grades K-12 include:*

- Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Dr. Neal Lane, at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair:  The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) brings together over 1,200 high-school students from 40 nations for a prestigious, international science competition, and will attract 2000 additional representatives from business, industry, the sciences and academia as well as several Nobel Laureates.  Dr. Lane will deliver remarks on the international nature of science and the importance of international scientific collaboration.

- Special Publication by the American Forum for Global Education:  The publication "Issues in Global Education," will be distributed to 70,000 secondary school educators nationwide and will contain articles and classroom exercises focusing upon: 1) the globalization of science and benefits of international scientific collaboration, and 2) how the U.S. is preparing future generations to participate in the global scientific community.

- Smithsonian Website:  The Smithsonian Institution is developing a special "international science awareness website," where students will be able to "meet" the Smithsonian scientists conducting research across the globe.  In addition to describing their research in language understandable to young students, the scientists will provide a personal statement about what inspired them to pursue science as a profession.

- St. Louis Children's Aquarium Tours:  During Global Science and Technology Week, the St. Louis Children's Aquarium will be giving tours from approximately 50 different schools from the St. Louis community.  The museum will display the President's proclamation as a "stop" on the guided tours.  The tour guides will talk to the to the students about the messages that the President's proclamation hopes to convey to young people throughout the United States.  In addition, each teacher will be given a copy of the proclamation to post in his or her classroom.

- National Science Teachers Association:  NSTA will feature an article in their publication sent out to their 55,000 members that will provides websites and examples of international scientific projects that science teachers may feature during Global Science and Technology Week.

- The University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Virtual University Education Program: UMBI will sponsor a videoconference between high-school students from Maryland, Norway and Sweden to discuss their collaborative science projects, enabling them to analyze and discuss scientific data they have collected from the Chesapeake Bay, the Norwegian Fjords and the Baltic Sea.

- GLOBE Webchat: The GLOBE will sponsor a webchat between K-12 students and a prominent international scientist to discuss the international nature of science and the importance of international scientific collaboration.  Participation in the web-chat is available to any student from GLOBE's 8,000 schools in 85 countries.

The President's proclamation and additional information regarding Global Science and Technology Week can be found at

*  As of April 24, 2000.  This information will be updated as new activities are developed.

Office of Science and Technology Policy
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W
Washington, DC 20502
Flag BAr
[Home Page][Citizens' Handbook icon][Help Desk]

To comment on this service, send feedback to the Web Development Team.