Is it necessary for students to complete both high school and college (total of eight years) before doing real research?

In many fields of human endeavor individuals are traditionally immersed early. In the sciences complete immersion in research has traditionally been delayed until graduate school. Why is science different? Why are our science education systems still continuing this outmoded practice? This seems to be a waste of human talent and productivity especially in a global economy driven by research, creativity, discovery and innovation. Does it have to be this way? How did it come to be this way?

While there is an increase in undergraduate research over the last few years in the natural and physical sciences, it is too often limited to college juniors and seniors. Why? Why aren't high school and early college students not routinely and broadly involved in real research curricularly and non-curricularly?

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