Recently Judy Estrin, former Cisco CTO and current Silicon Valley luminary, published a book called Closing the Innovation Gap. I haven’t read it (yet), but she reportedly argues that the United States has what she calls a “national innovation deficit” – specifically, a shortage of overall investment in science and engineering. According to a recent article, Google’s Vint Cerf, one of the primary inventors of the Internet, agrees.

They’re right. In 2005, the National Academies noted that federal financing of research in the physical sciences was 45 per cent