`Trade You Two Einsteins For A Tesla'

You've heard variations on the lament: "My kid knows the batting averages of every baseball player in the country. If only he'd pay that much attention to his schoolwork."

Try getting him a set of scientist trading cards. Yep. They look just like baseball cards, but instead of batting averages they list degrees, grants, publications, and hobbies. There's the PhD whose computer is learning to recognize what he says. (He likes skiing.) And the chemist who studies elephant urine to learn what attracts male to female. (She's a scuba diver.)

Since August, the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology has given out about 700 each of cards featuring nine faculty members. Requests have poured in from 26 states and three countries.

O.K., it may not bring science scores up to the levels of the Koreans or the Taiwanese. But it's a start.