the national laboratories that, traditionally, have been performing defense and energy research. Thus for the next few years, more AMO graduates will probably find employment in non-AMO fields, and the numbers in the "postdoctoral pool" may increase.
The long-term future human resources needs will derive from needs within the AMO community and from demands of industry, government, and academe outside of AMO science. The employment within AMO science has been constant since 1970. Even if most academic positions are refilled as their present holders retire, this demand is relatively small and might absorb 10 to 15% of the projected future PhD output. The demand for AMO graduates in other areas is more difficult to predict. Many industries that have typically hired AMO graduates, such as the microelectronics manufacturing, aerospace, and defense industries, are all now under stress and face an uncertain future. The outlook is somewhat brighter for AMO PhDs in other industries, such as communications, environmental monitoring and control, and medical instrumentation. As noted elsewhere in this report, future national economic growth may hinge on increased research and development activity in AMO science because of its many contributions to industry. If this increase occurs, there will be an augmented need for AMO graduates; if not, the demand will probably follow the recent historical trend of constancy.
The historical and demographic data show that PhDs in AMO science undertake a wide range of occupations, with many working in areas enabled by AMO science, but few leaving science. AMO graduates are readily adaptable to occupational mobility, perhaps because the small scale of most AMO projects requires students to become intimately involved with all aspects of the project, including planning, design, execution, and data analysis and presentation. PhD graduates leaving the research laboratory for employment in industry are themselves a most effective vehicle for technology transfer. They carry with them internal knowledge of new science and techniques and are able to apply these effectively in an industrial environment. The industries that employ AMO scientists are those that have contributed significantly to recent economic growth in the United States and are most needed to sustain its economic health.