Santiago Oviedo, a lanky 24-year-old from Madrid, is on track to get his master's in physics in October — a crucial milestone in his dream of becoming a researcher probing the origins of the universe.

Spain won't benefit from his big brain.

Because of education spending cuts and Spain's downward economic spiral, Oviedo is planning to emigrate to Britain, France, the Netherlands or Germany to get his Ph.D. or work at a company that lets him do research. He's afraid he may never work or raise a family in his country.