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Suggested Citation:"Educational Limitations." National Research Council. 1970. The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs The World of Biological Research Requirements for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9575.
Page 245

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THE WORLD OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH 245 rating environment in which science is being conducted at its outermost frontiers. EDUCATIONAL LIMITATIONS An attempt was made to estimate the extent to which working life scientists sense deficits in the educational preparation for their careers. Respondents to the questionnaire were asked to state whether their current research programs are significantly limited by their own educational preparation in chemistry, mathematics, physics, electronics, statistics, other areas of the life sciences, or the use of computers. In all, 4,396 scientists, 30.6 percent of the entire responding population, indicated that full develop- ment of their current research effort is indeed very seriously hindered by insufficient personal training in one or more of these disciplines. Lack of knowledge of chemistry was most frequently felt to be limiting (1,766 individuals ), followed by computer science ( 1,5 69 ), mathematics ( 1,427 ), ( 1,085 ), and electronics (983), with only 498 life scientists acutely aware of insufficient personal training in physics. Scientists in academic institutions were not distinguished from those working in nonacademic institutions with respect to this pattern of per- ceived inadequacies, although 38 percent of academic personnel were aware of some such limitation, and only 30 percent of nonacademic scien- tists were. In both groups, those in the middle of the age range (35-50 years) were about 30 percent more likely to be aware of such deficits than were younger or older investigators. Again, however, age was essentially without influence on the pattern of perceived disciplinary insufficiency; the rank order of disciplines cited above for the entire population was char- youngest, oldest, and midrange investigators alike. statistics ( 1,136 ), other biological sciences acteristic of the WITH WHAT MATERIALS DO LIFE SCIENTISTS WORK? The panorama of the biological universe offers such remarkable and diverse organisms, ecological situations, environmental responses, and unanswered questions at levels varying from the molecular to the cosmic that it is not surprising that research biologists employ an almost equally disparate and diverse variety of approaches to the questions they put to nature. In Table 14 is displayed a representation of primary research materials and -

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