V.1 Science and Society in Equilibrium

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Joseph P. Martino

An expert in the area of technology forecasting, Joseph P. Martino created this map depicting the equilibrium of science and society. The graph on the left shows the number of scientists and the growth in population in the U.S. for nearly 30 years: 1940-1969. Martino calculated that the proportion of scientists in the population had increased from less than 0.5 percent to about 1%. Today, the U.S. has about 300 million people, including about 5 million (1.7%) scientists. On the right, the growth in the U.S. gross national product (GNP) since 1946 and the dollar resources expended in research and development (R&D) for 1953-1968 are shown. The proportion of the U.S. GNP devoted to R&D doubled, from slightly less than 1.5% to 3% over that time period. In 2008, the U.S. GNP was $13 trillion, with about $0.3 trillion (2.3%) spent on R&D. While the percentage of scientists in the total population increases steadily, R&D investment as a fraction of GNP appears to be constant and is declining in purchasing power. The primary purpose of this map is to indicate that science is transitioning to equilibrium, and science policy-makers must start thinking about how to cushion the shocks that will accompany such a transition.


Martino, Joseph P. 1969. “Science and Society in Equilibrium.” Science 165 (3895):

Martino, Joseph P. 1969. Science and Society in Equilibrium. Courtesy of AAAS. In “5th Iteration (2009): Science Maps for Science Policy-Makers,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Elisha F. Hardy. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.