News & Views Index
September 2004



Nature Reports: French Civil Research Gets a €1 Billion Rise in the 2005 Budget.    (30/09/04)
The French government announced the increase of  €1bn (A$1.73bn) last week -- 10% up from 2004. [More]


17 of Australia's Foremost Scientists Show Some Bottle.    (29/09/04)

    Nobel Laureate, Peter Doherty, the former head of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Sir Gustav Nossal, and the recipient of the this year's Prime Minister's Science Prize, bionic ear pioneer Graeme Clark are among three signatories to a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Leader of the Labor Opposition, Mark Latham. [More]


An Objective Assessment of Geosequestration.    (25/09/04)

    The Australian Broadcasting Company's science unit's  Heather Catchpole has produced a careful analysis of the factors that need to be assessed in determining if burying compressed carbon dioxide is a sensible approach to significantly reducing Australia's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. [More]


What do Physicists Know Anyway?    (25/09/04)

    Nature reports that if the International Space Station's caretaker crew of 2 can't repair the balky Russian-built oxygen generator by the end of October, when the crew is scheduled to be replaced, it may have to be abandoned. [More]


Peter Hall Reports on the Release of the Report of the Quality Review of the Australian National University.    (24/09/04)

    Today the ANU formally released the results, and its interpretation, of its review.  Although by name the review was of quality, its focus was substantially broader than might have been anticipated. [More]


Labor Pledges to Fund a $22 Million "Smart Partnerships Program" Over Four Years to Boost Private Sector R&D, and $121m for Science Fellowships.    (23/09/04)

    Labor's Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science & Research, Senator Kim Carr, claimed today that the lack of cooperation both within and between public and private research is the greatest block to innovation in Australia. [More]


AVCC: Universities forgotten in "Great Education Debate".    (22/09/04)

    Following the "debate" last Wednesday at the National Press Club the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee issued a media release bitterly complaining, "It is a real pity that the Government and the Opposition seem focussed on October 9 rather than on the long-term agenda for Australia’s future." [More]


ANU Looks toward Raising $100 million through CPI Indexed Bonds.    (22/09/04)

    The Australian National University (ANU) yesterday announced it is looking into issuing $100 million worth of CPI indexed annuity bonds. The money, if it is raised, will be used for upgrading the university's infrastructure. [More]


"Isaac Newton and His Contemporary Christiaan Huygens Argued the Toss Over it Back in the 17th Century"    (21/09/04)

    So writes Michael Hopkin in the September 20th What was being argued? "While Newton was writing his Principia Mathematica... he thought that an object's speed through a fluid would depend on its viscosity. [More]


Science Communicator Dr Peter Pockley Set Up the ABC Science Unit 40 Years Ago.    (20/09/04)

    Yesterday on Ockham's Razor Peter Pockley recalled a few highlights from the last 40 Years. For openers he opines, "[T]o have any credibility with both scientists and the public, [science communicators] cannot be seen to be flag-wavers or cheerleaders for scientists, their institutions and their special interests... On the other side of the fence [are the] spin merchants. [More]


Nature: Some Physicists Have Questioned the Capability of Missile Defence Systems Being Deployed in the United States.    (19/09/04)

    The Journal Nature in one of its questions to US President George W Bush regarding support for science wrote, "Some physicists have questioned the capability of missile defence systems being deployed in the United States. Would you increase or decrease spending on missile defence, and would you subject claims made on its behalf to independent scientific review?" [More]


When Nature and Science Asked Bush and Kerry About Their Support for Science.    (18/09/04)

    Some time back the scientific weeklies Nature (UK) and  Science (US) submitted separate lists of questions to the US presidential candidates George W Bush and John Kerry asking for their views on a number of specific scientific issues. In due course they returned their replies. [More]


Number of Foreign Graduate Students Admitted to Top US Research Institutions in Marked Declined.    (16/09/04)

    The Journal Nature reports that data released on September 7th by the US Council of Graduate Schools shows that foreign graduate student enrollments have declined precipitously this year. [More]


Arden Bement to be Next Director of NSF.    (16/09/04)

    Yesterday the White House nominated Arden Bement, acting NSF director since February, when microbiologist Rita Colwell stepped down, to be the next director of the National Science Foundation. [More]


The Opposition Spokesman for Science and Research, Industry and Innovation, Senator Kim Carr Releases a Series of Generalisations Which May Bode Well for R&D Depending on Labor being Prepared to Walk the Walk.    (16/09/04)

    In a 600 word statement published by the Sydney Morning Herald today Senator Kim Carr presaged Labor's forthcoming policy on research and development but without giving anything away as to detail or just what resources it would earmark in support. [More]


The Operator - Written by a Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Acted in by a Graduate in Electrical Engineering, and About...     (14/09/04)

    The playwright David Williamson received his degree in mechanical engineering from Monash University in 1964.

The actor Henri Szeps gained a bachelor degree in science in 1964 and a second in electrical engineering in 1966 at Sydney University. [More]


Australian Bureau of Statistics Releases Latest Figures for Research and Experimental Development for All Sectors.    (13/09/04)

    Following on last week's release by the ABS of Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD) today it added data for contributions from the government and private non-profit sectors. [More]


Whether or Not a Re-shifting of Emphasis Will Occur When Peter Høj Takes Over as ARC CEO is a Moot Question.    (10/09/04)



Not Everything that Goes Up Comes Down - University Student / Staff Ratios 1996 - 2003 and More.    (09/09/04)

    On September 8 the President of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), Snow Barlow announced the release of a new report, Beyond Brain Drain. [More]


Head of Rio Tinto's Global Energy Business Here For PR Damage Control.    (08/09/04)

    Preston Chiaro, the London-based chief executive of Rio Tinto's energy group has arrived in Australia to get the point across to the company down under that climate change is a deadly threat to humans. [More]


Yeah, But Does Any Politician With a Power Base Give a Damn? Come to That Does a Significant Proportion of the Voting Public?    (07/09/04)

    This memorandum was written over three years ago. It is reprinted here in its entirety. [More]


Decline of Business Expenditure on R&D (BERD) as a Share of GDP Disturbing:  FASTS     (06/09/04)

    The President of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), Professor Snow Barlow, said the decline in BERD as a percentage of GDP was a disturbing result particularly in view of the buoyant state of the national economy. [More]


President of AVCC, Di Yerbury, Looks Again at Systematic Decline in Federal Governmental Funding for Higher Education Through Stingy Indexation Since 1996.     (06/09/04)

    Just under three years ago (October 16, 2001) Bruce Chapman, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research at the Research School of Social Sciences, ANU spoke to the National Press Club on "The Returns on Education Investment". [More]


TFW First Placed this N&V Item on the Site Just Under Two Months Ago - We do so Again for an Obvious Reason.    (01/09/04)

    "Government investment in R&D is projected to fall to 0.62% of GDP in 2004/05 - down from 0.66% in 2002-03." -- FASTS President, Snow Barlow. (July 5, 2004)

        Although Prime Minister, John Howard, has yet to announce the date of this year's federal election the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies has put forward its election statement, Real Priorities: Science and technology for Australia's social, economic and environmental benefit. [More]