News & Views Index
January 2005




Science and Technology in Primary Schools: A Cause for Concern.    (31/01/05)

    Professor Don Watts retired to Western Australia at the beginning of 1995 to a part-time position as Professor of Science and Education at The University of Notre Dame Australia. [More]


A View from the Right: Universities from Dawkins to Nelson -- the Quadrant's View.    (31/01/05)

    The Australian Monthly  Quadrant describes itself as "Australia's independent review of literature and ideas". Its editor is the right-wing journalist and former Sydney Morning Herald columnist Padraic McGuinness. [More]


From Letters to Science January 28, 2005 -- Reprinted in its Entirety.    (28/01/05)

 Marburger Makes His Position Clear

    The article "Breakdown of the year: the unwritten contract" (J. Mervis, "Breakthrough of the Year" Special Issue, 17 Dec. 2004, p. 2015) mischaracterizes my position regarding science colleagues who signed a statement accompanying a Union of Concerned Scientists report critical of the administration. The article implies that I dismissed the statement as "complaints from the Democrats." This quote and its implication directly contradicts the many statements I have made on this issue during the past year, including a previous Science article accurately quoting me as having "a great deal of respect" for the researchers who signed the statement but "considerably less for the report."


John H. Marburger III
Science Advisor to the President and Director,
Office of Science and Technology Policy,
Executive Office of the President,
Washington, DC 20502,

Who and How to Grade the Teacher.    (25/01/05)

    Matthew Thompson in today's Sydney Morning Herald brings up the matter of the federal government allocating over the next three years just over a quarter of a billion dollars for a "Learning and Teaching Performance Fund". [More]


Hubble Trouble?    (25/01/05)

    The Hubble Space Telescope is something of the darling of the optical astronomer's and with good reason. As Ken Pounds of the University of Leicester, UK put it, "Hubble is arguably the most successful astronomy mission ever." [More]


Visy Industries Chairman, Richard Pratt, to Give Australia Day Address.    (24/01/05)

   Visy Industries operates more than 100 manufacturing facilities with nearly 8,000 employees. Through the Pratt Foundation, Richard Pratt and his family are among Australia’s major private philanthropists. In his address he makes specific proposals for the furtherance of Australian tertiary education and R&D. [More]


Einstein, Albert - 1879--1955, German-born Physicist.    (22/01/05)

    In 1905 a little known 26 year old clerk in the Swiss Patent Office shook the world of physics to its foundations. Between 1901 when his first paper was published and the end of 1904 he had five publication to his name. [More]


Medical Researcher Set to Become Next President of Iran?    (22/01/05)

    Mostafa Moin will stand for President as the candidate of the reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front if not disqualified by Iran's Guardians Council. [More]


Soldiers in the Laboratory.    (22/01/05)

the British group Scientists for Global Responsibility has released an 81 page report, Soldiers in the Laboratory. The main purpose of the report is to document the power and influence of the military in the governance and direction of science, engineering and technology in the UK over the past fifteen years and why it should be curbed. [More]


That Other Moon.    (22/01/05)

    The landing on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, last week moved space exploration and science onto the front pages and prime TV news times. The American Physical Society's Bob Park makes an interesting comparison. [More]


Math Curse and Science Verse.    (20/01/05)

    A decade ago Jon Scieszka wrote Math Curse while Lane Smith contributed the marvellously zany pictures. Still in print it has gotten such accolades as "As close to genius as one gets in a picture book." Now... [More]


Could Our Parliamentarians Become Interested -- Even Supportive -- of Physics?    (20/01/05)

    This week Nature entitled its lead editorial "Einstein is Dead". While in the main it covers where physics is and will be in the coming decades, one paragraph carries its own message. [More] 


World Academy of Young Scientists (WAYS) Last Month Held Its Inaugural Meeting in Marrakech.    (16/01/05)

    Around 150 researchers and observers from 85 countries made it to the inaugural 3-day meeting on 13 December. [More]


A Few More Details Emerge with Regard to the European Union's Framework Programme 7.    (16/01/05)

    TFW reported on December 3rd "In Brussels last week a meeting of the European Union's (E.U.'s) science, education, and industry ministers voted 23 to 2 for the creation of a European Research Council (ERC) and asked the European Commission to develop a proposal." Now Nature has added some detail. [More]


UK Scientists Accuse British Universities of Dumping Enabling Sciences in Favour of the Cheap and Popular.    (16/01/05)

    At the end of last November the British Chancellor, Gordon Brown, put forward his plans for elevating Britain's "scientific genius". That seemed to goad some of the UK's leading enabling scientists into challenging both both universities' administrations and the government to get cracking. [More]


Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, About to Get International Recognition.    (14/01/05)

    Late last year The Australian carried an article by Dorothy Illing  that the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, and to whom the Australian Research Council (ARC) is responsible, had overridden the assessment of ARC peer reviewers and canned several approved research grants. [More]


New Master of St John's College, Cambridge Talks About Inspiration and Learning.    (09/01/05)

    Richard Perham got his PhD at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge in 1964, immediately joined the Cambridge department of biochemistry, became head of department in 1985 retiring last year and is the new master of St John's College. [More]


Carbon Credits Edge Toward Becoming a Worthwhile Trading Card.    (08/01/05)

    Now that Vladimir Putin, for whatever reason, has pushed Russia into ratifying the Kyoto Protocol it's just possible that some real if slow progress will be made toward limiting the anthropogenic release of CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere. [More]


A Blast from the Past Tells Universities to Get Real and Become Commercially Viable.    (07/01/05)

    Today the The Australian Financial Review allowed John Hewson, "investment banker and former Liberal leader and leader of the opposition. He was dean of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management from 2002 to 2004" 750 words to make his case as to why "universities should abandon their ivory towers and show some commercial drive." [More]


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond Dissects the Causes of Societal  Destruction and Survival.    (07/01/05)

    Overall Diamond's message is simple: it is possible for human societies to destroy their environment through over exploitation to the point of causing their extinction. [More]


French Scientists Contemplate Another Assent of the Barricades.    (07/01/05)

    Between February and April last year we reported on a contretemps between the French government and the French scientific community with the battle won by the scientists. Now the Chirac Government is signaling that the war's not over. [More]


Science meets Parliament 2005 - Registrations Open.    (05/01/05)

The dates for the next Science meets Parliament are: Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8th and 9th, 2005 and registrations are now open. [More]