March 8th, 2010

It’s a cliché that too little American talent goes into science, and that too many people go into banking, and that our education system is said to be failing because of those effects. To some substantial effects it must be true.

I found myself on a business trip to Europe and lucky for me I was sitting in business class. Seated not far from me in business class was a young woman who had graduated from Harvard 14 months before and who was working for a major financial institution and she was traveling to Europe and when people travel for that major financial institution they travel in business class. I like to walk when I’m on a plane, so I wandered. I walked back to coach and on that airplane in coach was a distinguished physicist who I had known when I was president of Harvard who I think probably is close to even money to win a Nobel Prize one day. He was going to a conference like professors of physics do and he was going like professors of physics like him go, which is in coach. And I didn’t say anything to either of them, but I thought to myself there was something odd about the reward structure of our society.

–Lawrence Summers

as quoted here

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