The opportunities in the Muslim world are even broader than we initially thought, suggests the 26 January edition of The Economist, because these two Arabian oil states are not the only Muslim-majority nations making rapid advances in building up science.
Indeed, "a Muslim scientific awakening is under way," The Economist declares. Given the leading role that Muslim scientists, physicians, and mathematicians played in centuries past and the vast resources now available to at least some Muslim countries, this should come as no surprise. We don't call our digits "Arabic numerals" for nothing, after all, nor is the Arabic name of algebra an accident. As The Economist notes, a traveling museum exhibit highlighting "1001 Inventions" from the Muslim world is currently attracting visitors in Washington, D.C.
Also notable are the expatriate scientists from Western countries and elsewhere who have gone to work in the Muslim world. I met several during the visit to Doha I described in 2011. The economist mentions another notable arrival: the prominent French chemist Jean Fréchet, now at Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, an institution whose $20 billion endowment dwarfs some American titans of research.
Like all cultural settings, Muslim countries may not provide living situations congenial to everyone. But for able scientists who can adapt to the milieu, the burgeoning Muslim research scene could provide welcome new scientific opportunities.