Acknowledgments and Citation


This digest was developed with guidance from the National Science Board by Beethika Khan, Karen White, and Amy Burke, National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), and supported by NCSES’s analytic staff. The volume was edited and produced by Christine Hamel and Tanya Gore, with guidance from Catherine Corlies, NCSES. Drew Mitchell and staff at OmniStudio, Inc., designed the layout. The Web version was produced by Rajinder Raut, with technical assistance from staff of Penobscot Bay Media, LLC.

Proprietary data in “Global Science and Technology Capabilities” were provided by Elsevier, Scopus abstract and citation database ( and LexisNexis patent data, with analytical support from Science-Metrix ( and SRI International (, and by the databases of IHS Global Insight ( World Industry Service database and World Trade Service database.

Cover image

The cover for the Science and Engineering Indicators 2018 Digest shows a polarization microscope image of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals revolutionized how we present information, giving rise to the liquid crystal display (LCD) industry. Modern devices including smart phones, laptop screens, and flat-panel television sets all feature LCDs, in which so-called nematic (“threadlike”) liquid crystals realign in an electric field, thus changing the appearance of the pixelated screen.

In the cover photo, the two dark centers with emerging streamers are called “boojum,” point defects in the molecular orientation of the liquid crystal. The defects form at the surface of a thin film of nematic fluid, the simplest form of a liquid crystal. The bands of different colors show the varying orientation of liquid crystal molecules around the defect.

This image was created by Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Trustees Research Professor, Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University. Work at the Liquid Crystal Institute explores the physical mechanisms behind the complex, three-dimensional molecular architectures and the practical applications of these materials. Research in liquid crystals at Kent State University has been supported by a series of National Science Foundation grants, (the most recent is NSF award number 17-29509).

Credit: Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University