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Thursday, February 07, 2008


Letters published today in both the Record & the Scotsman. I sent the Scotsman one on Tuesday & the other went on Weds. Both quite extensively edited [ ]

"[The Record Reports (Scots inventors hailed as world leaders 4th feb) that per capita scientists living in Scotland now get cited more often than[[replaced by "So Scots scientists are making more scientific breakthroughs than those in] any other country [in the world except] Switzerland.

[Although Switzerland technically pops us into 2nd place in the world, so many Scots scientists are "brain drained" to England & the US where our emigrants have the advantage of a common language,][replced by "And so many Scots scientists now live outside the country"] that it is almost certain that if emigrants had been included, Scots scientists would be, [per capita,] in first place in the world.

I can literally think of no greater reason for national pride than this. Scotland winning the World Cup would be a minor thing by comparison."

[Shame on our political leaders that we lag ever further behind Ireland's Celtic Tiger economy even though we have this enormous advantage over them.] "

They shortened it by taking out the qualifiers & simplified it by taking out the economic point. But that is ok, they understand their market.

The Scotsman shortened it too & edited out my favourite line about reason for national pride:

[I saw] your report today that per capita scientists living in Scotland get cited more often than any other country in the world except Switzerland. [This is heightened by the fact that we have long been known for our brain drain to English & US centres of excellence. This, we may reasonably assume, happens less in Switzerland, partly because they are richer than us but mainly because such centres are overwhelmingly in English speaking places. While it would be less feasible to do a survey of scientists by claimed nationality (the Americans think Bell was one of theirs) it seems likely if it were done that we would top even the Swiss

I can literally think of no greater reason for national pride than this.}

So is it not disgraceful that economically we are languishing behind even Ireland? [We know how to achieve Irish style growth — the way they did it but with more science & technology. We have had many promises from Mr Salmond to achieve a 'Celtic Lion" economy beating Ireland's Celtic Tiger, but, after nearly a year, little action. It now seems to even need the Tories to push them on their one small albeit real reform - cutting the small business rates that stifle innovation.]

In the same edition you have your list of the 50 most important people in Scotland. Not 1 scientist so far. [Our science may be the world's best but our rulers seem mired in political correctness, parochialism & Ludditry].

It is not clear if this report was commissioned by the Scottish government or if they merely publicised it. If the former it may be somewhat biased but number of citations in papers is a solid, respected & verifiable way to calculate such things.

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