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Economic Power, Population, and the Size of Astronomical Community

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019

ang-Hyeon Ahn

(Submitted on 2 Aug 2019)

The number of astronomers for a country registered to the IAU is known to have a correlation with the GDP. However, the robustness of this relationship can be doubted, because the fraction of astronomers joining the IAU differs from country to country. Here we revisit this correlation by using the recent data updated as of 2017, and then we find a similar correlation by using the total enumeration of astronomers and astrophysicists with PhD degrees and working in each country, instead of adopting the number of IAU members. We confirm the existence of two subgroup in the correlation. One group consists of European advanced countries having long history of modern astronomy, while the other group consists of countries having experienced recent rapid economic development. In order to find causation in the correlation, we obtain the long-term variations of the number of astronomers, population, and the GDP for a number of countries to find that the number of astronomers per citizen for recently developing countries has increased more rapidly as GDP per capita increased, than that for fully developed countries. We collect a demographic data of the Korean astronomical community. From these findings we estimate the proper size of the Korean astronomical community by considering the society's economic power and population. The current number of PhD astronomers working in Korea is approximately 310, but it should be 550 that is large enough to be comparable and competitive to the sizes of Spainish, Canadian, and Japanese astronomical communities. We discuss on the way how to overcome the vulnerability of the Korean astronomical community, based on the statistics of national R&D expenditure structure comparing with that of other major advanced countries.

Comments: 18 pages, 6 figures, 4 tables, accepted for publication in Journal of Korean Astronomical Society 2019 August Issue

Subjects: Digital Libraries (cs.DL); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Cite as: arXiv:1908.02584 [cs.DL] (or arXiv:1908.02584v1 [cs.DL] for this version)

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Submission history

From: Sang-Hyeon Ahn Dr. [view email] 

[v1] Fri, 2 Aug 2019 04:38:39 UTC (103 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.02584

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