News & Views Index
October 2005



Minister Blindsided Over VSU.    (31/10/05)

    On Mach 24 TFW's News and Views wrote "Now It's Getting Serious. Has Dr Nelson Gone Too Far in His Attack on 'Compulsory Student Union' Fees?" [More]


China is Spending Billions to Woo Big-name Scholars and Build First-class Research Laboratories -- China's Latest Bid to Raise its Profile as a Great Power.    (30/10/05)

    "The model is simple: recruit top foreign-trained Chinese and Chinese-American specialists, set them up in well-equipped labs, surround them with the brightest students and give them tremendous leeway." [More]


From 1996 to 2003, Public Investment in Australian Tertiary Institutions - 8%,  Rest of the Developed World, Average  + 38% -- Bob Hawke.         (30/10/05)

    Well he would say something like that. [More]


European Research Council Moves a Step Closer to Realisation.    (28/10/05)

    During its first meeting held on October 18 - 19 the decision was taken by the  the Scientific Council of the European Research Council that the ERC is to be headed by scientist rather than a bureaucrat. [More]


Those University Rankings -- Melbourne Scores in Top 20.    (28/10/05)

   London's The Times has released its list of the worlds top 200 universities "based on surveys of more than 2300 academics, and examines the research produced, student-to-staff ratios, international students and the number of internationally recognised academics." [More]


The University of Sydney Announces Fourth Round of Return Awards for Expatriate Researchers.    (28/10/05)

     The award allows Australian ex-pats to spend a few months in Sydney in order to carry out collaborative research and education programmes in a wide variety of fields across the sciences, humanities and medical areas. Funds to cover cost of living, relocation and health insurance for successful applicants and their immediate family are provided.
    Details are at .  Applications close on 2 December, 2005.


Cambridge University Starts Online Digital Archive for the Complete Works of Charles Darwin.    (27/10/05) [More]


Project 2061 Twenty Years On.     (25/10/05)

    Project 2061 is an initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS asked in 1985, "What scientific and technological changes will [today's children] see in their lifetime? How can today's education prepare them to make sense of how the world works; to think critically and independently; and to lead interesting, responsible, and productive lives in a culture increasingly shaped by science and technology?" [More]


About That Californian University System.    (24/10/05)

     Kevin Starr, is California's state librarian emeritus, and professor of history at the University of Southern California (USC), one of California's private universities. Yesterday he wrote an opinion piece "The CSU [California State University] system transforms the poor and middle class into California's farmers, cops, teachers and business leaders." [More]


Aussie Scientists Stand up for Darwinian Evolution -- Challenge Australian Governments and Educators Not to Promulgate ID as Science.    (21/10/05)     A statement on intelligent design was released jointly yesterday by the Dean of Science, University of New South Wales, the Executive Director, Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, the Executive Secretary, Australian Academy of Science and the President-Elect, Australian Science Teachers Association. [More]


Will Dr Nelson and His DEST Bureaucracy Take Note?    (20/10/05)

     With the further discussion of developing an overreaching Research Quality Framework as yet another layer in governmental research funding allocation imminent, a letter to the editor of Nature would appear to be pertinent. [More]


Cost of Higher Education in US Public Universities.    (19/10/05)

    "Taxpayer support for public universities, measured per student, has plunged more precipitously since 2001 than at any time in two decades, and several university presidents are calling the decline a de facto privatization of the institutions that played a crucial role in the creation of the American middle class." [More]


A Soft-Spoken Sentence from the Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University.    (19/10/05)

    "To have this unnecessary intrusion [of 'voluntary student unionism'] for reasons not related to anything that would benefit the universities seems to be totally unwarranted, and add to that the uncertainty [of the timing of its introduction] and you do have something close to a total mess."-- Professor Ian Chubb


FASTS Holds a Forum on RQF Third-Stream Funding Considerations.    (17/10/05)

 On Wednesday October 12 the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) hosted a forum on Third Stream funding. For those not familiar with the term it may be defined as  monies given to higher education institutions to assist them in usefully reaching out to business and the community. [More]


Nobel Laureate Robin Warren -- A Couple of Comments.    (17/10/05)

    Pathologist Robin Warren, now 68, together with Barry Marshall, was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology on October 4. He give an interview to Time magazine last week. [More]


When it Comes to Upping ASIO's Security Capability, Could Outsourcing be the Answer?    (17/10/05)

    The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced his intention to nearly double the number of staff at the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) from 1,000 to 1,900 by 2010. But there seems to be a problem. [More]


Is it a Question of What is the Shemozzle or Who is the Shlimazel?    (15/10/05)

    While university staffing and infrastructures continue to erode with the assistance of the Coalition government, the brouhaha over "voluntary student unionism" gains momentum with the gleeful assistance of the media as Senator Barnaby Joyce continues to drive thorns into the paws of the Federal cabinet. [More]


Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee Makes Its Submission on the Research Quality Framework and Asks Dr Nelson to Take Heed    (14/10/05)

    Just over a month ago the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, released a 25 page document for a "preferred model" for a Research Quality Framework: Assessing the quality and impact of research in Australia. [More]


New German Government to Be Pledges Significant Increases in Support of R&D.    (14/10/05)

    A "grand coalition" agreement between Germany's two biggest political parties, usually bitter rivals, lists an increase in research funding as the first point of accord. [More]


A Lady at the Helm: MIT's New President.    (14/10/05)

    She's 54 the immediate former provost of Yale University, a gifted neuroscientist who pioneered the use of monoclonal antibody technology in brain research focusing on gaining an understanding of glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. [More]


US National Academies Issue Stark Warning to Their Federal Government on Support for Science.    (13/10/05)

        A 330 page report issued by a 20-member panel of the US National Academies titled Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future has concluded that the U.S. government must spend an estimated US$10 billion more a year on basic research and training to compete in the global marketplace. [More]


New Discoveries on Flores Support Homo floresiensis is a Separate Species, but the Possibility for Further Research is in Doubt.    (12/10/05)



President of Caltech, David Baltimore, Gives His Views on Science and Scientific Research.    (11/10/05)

    In 1975 the then thirty-seven year old David Baltimore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. As a candidate to become president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science the current president of Caltech has written a statement of his views regarding the efficacy of science and scientific research. [More]


Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2005 Goes to Robert Aumann and Thomas Schelling.    (11/10/05)

     The "Nobel Prize for Economics" for 2005 has been awarded to Robert Aumann and Thomas Schelling "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis". [More]


Dr Nelson Due for a Prat Fall Over "Voluntary Student Unionism"?    (10/10/05)

    The signs for the white anting of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson's push for deputy leadership of the Federal Liberal Party and eventual leadership are becoming increasingly obvious. [More]


The State of New York's Two Public Universities are on Hard Times.    (10/10/05)

    At a hearing this past Friday at the City University of New York Graduate Center in Midtown Manhattan sponsored by the higher education committees of the State Senate and Assembly, Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty and staff union at CUNY told the hearing, "We have reached the point of crisis. [More]


On the World Economic Forum's Rankings of National Competitiveness Australia Has Climbed 4 Places to Reach 10th.    (09/10/05)

    The September 28 media release reads, "Nordic countries and East Asian tigers top the rankings in the World Economic Forum's 2005 competitiveness rankings. Australia, India, Ireland and Poland all gain positions – US remains in second place after Finland. [More]


Only in Germany?    (07/10/05)

    Eleven young German research scientists who are currently working in the US have drafted an open letter to the German research ministry pointing out those conditions currently prevalent in their homeland that preclude their returning and what should be done about it. [More]


Yet Another Determinant in the Dispute of Evolution vs Creationism/Intelligent Design.    (07/10/05)

     Günter Theien from the University of Jena says, "It has not been clear how the usually slow accumulation of random mutations could account for the fast and coordinated morphological changes seen in the fossil record" and then alludes to a possible mechanism. [More]


Catalytic Revolution in Organic Chemistry Awarded 2005 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.    (06/10/05)

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2005 goes to Yves Chauvin, Institut Français du Pétrole, Robert H. Grubbs, California Institute of Technology and Richard R. Schrock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "For the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis". The literal meaning of metathesis being "changing places ". [More]


Australian Science and Science Teaching Awards for 2005 Announced.    (05/10/05)

   Yesterday evening Melbourne University Professor, David Boger, received the 2005 Prime Minster’s Prize for Science of a gold medal and a cheque for $300,000 at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra honouring his achievements in the area of non-Newtonian fluid mechanics. [More]


German, Two Americans Share Nobel Physics Prize for Work on Quantum Optics.    (05/10/05)

    It seems fitting that on the centenary of Einstein's annos mirabilis the 2005 Nobel Prize for physics should be awarded to three researchers who have pioneered the interrelationships between the wave and particle views of light and laid the foundation for the field of "quantum optics." [More]


Australians Robin Warren and Barry Marshall Awarded 2005 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.    (04/10/05)

    "This year's Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine made the remarkable and unexpected discovery that inflammation in the stomach (gastritis) as well as ulceration of the stomach or duodenum (peptic ulcer disease) is the result of an infection of the stomach caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori." [More]


US Constitution's First Amendment Gets Its Own Website.    (02/10/05)

    The first amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791 and is one of the first ten amendments collectively known as The Bill of Rights. [More]


Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor Designate, Steven Schwartz, Gives an Interview.    (01/10/05)

    "I believe a university's international reputation is determined mainly by its scholarly performance, so I will do what I can to ensure that Macquarie does well in research." [More]