With the days when the space program inspired American students to embrace science and math a distant memory, the US is counting on competition among schoolkids to return the country as a whole to a leading role, the Christian Science Monitor reports. High-level science fairs and math bowls are potential tools "to make science and math cool," says a National Science Foundation official.
Enjoying exposure in the Georgia Dome and even on ESPN, academic showdowns may offer a "galvanizing moment,"says the official. But some experts say the smackdowns aren't doing enough to attract urban minorities and rural students. "We've got Bill Gates 2.0 floating around here somewhere," says one expert. "We've just got to find him."