News & Views Index
March 2006



Royal Society Response to UK Climate Change Review.    (31/03/06)

    The President of the Royal Society tells the UK government just what is wrong with its policy on climate change. [More].


The Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2006, Introduced in the House of Representatives.    (31/03/06)

    Yesterday the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) issued a media release which begins, "Diminished Australian Research Council." [More]


Some Fallout from Dr Nelson's Crusade to Bring the ARC to Heel Comes to Light.    (29/03/06)

    The Australian's


Update on the RQF.    (28/03/06)

    The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop today released details of the progress that has been made in furthering the possible implementation of a research quality framework (RQF) for Australian Research. [More]


UK PM to Australia: "Step Up a Gear" and Invest Much More in Higher Education.    (28/03/06)

    The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, may be a lame duck but he had some gratuitous advice when speaking to the Australian-UK Leadership Forum yesterday. [More


Chairman of the Russell Group of UK Research-led Universities Michael Stirling: RAE is past its sell by date.    (27/03/06)

    Michael Sterling is the vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham and current chairman of the Russell group of UK research-led universities. [More]


Michael Griffin, Geoff Garrett and That Question of Gagging Scientists.    (26/03/06)

    On February 22 CSIRO's Chief Executive, Geoff Garrett announced in a media release an internal review of the organisation's role in providing science input into policy development. [More]


Anticlimax Department.    (24/03/06)

    Australian Academy of Science - Media release SCIENCE ACADEMY ELECTS NEW MEMBERS. [More]


A two-page graphic spread in the March 24 issue of Science depicts the state of greenhouse gas emissions    (24/03/06) for 10 countries that are key to the 1997 Kyoto Treaty, and where the planet is headed. [More]


What are the Responsibilities of a Public University?    (23/03/06)

    The Vice Chancellor of The University of Melbourne, Glyn Davis, has returned to his plea that public universities be allowed to set their own prices and choose which courses to teach. [More]


US Senator Speaks Up for Freedom of Expression for US Government Scientists.    (23/03/06) [More]


Take the Good With the Indifferent.    (22/03/06)

    So far the Minister for Education, Science and Training and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues, Julie Bishop, has not quite finished the second month of juggling her portfolios. [More]


AFR:  Reduced Research Undermines Scientific Progress.     (22/03/06)

    The Australian Financial Review today published the following letter from Peter Hall, Professor of Statistics, The Australian National University and The University of Melbourne. [More]


Big Brother's Control of Science.    (20/03/06)

    With the imposition of a badly thought out  research quality framework (RQF) moving like viscus volcanic magma inexorably closer, there have been uttered a few knowledgeable voices in dissent. [More]


Those Nations Who Sometimes Punch Above Their Weight.    (17/03/06)

    Kent Hill, Research Professor, Department of Economics and Center for Business Research Arizona State University's Carey School of Business, accompanies his recent paper Universities in the U.S. National Innovation System with a series of seven figures and three tables. They are self-explanatory. [More]




Click on the Image for Details of the Webcast.    (17/03/06)


 The ABC's eyewitness account: view the pictures and read Darren Osborne's account as he experiences three minutes of totality in this week's solar eclipse in Turkey.



The Role of the University, the Business Council of Australia, Steven Schwartz and Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business.    (16/03/06)   

    Recently the Business Council of Australia took our universities to task for graduating students who are ill prepared to enter the workforce. At best a half-truth it shows a misunderstanding of the role of universities for national wellbeing. [More]


Mathematics, the RQF and the Way of the World.    (15/03/06)

    Last week we published a couple of items on the lack of support for the most fundamental underpinning of science1, 2. And now that Dr Nelson has reformed higher education in the Prime Minister, John Howard's image we can all sleep easy. Who needs maths when the Australian Workplace Agreements will whip those recalcitrant academics into shape. [More]


Lunar and Planetary Science Conference: Mapping Mars.    (15/03/06)

    Google Mars, launched today to much fanfare, provides a map of the entire surface of the red planet, using more than 17,000 photos [More]


And Then There's New Zealand.    (13/03/06)

    Press Release: Vice Chancellors' Committee, New Zealand Association of University Staff  Report: Universities Under-Funded, Salaries Inadequate [More]

 Reform of French Science Support Looks to be Running on Low Octane.    (12/03/06)

    There were 42,000 signatories to the petition SAUVONS LA RECHERCHE! presented to the French government on January 7th 2004. The resulting legislation is now before the French parliament. [More]


The US / Indian Nuclear Deal and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.    (11/03/06)

    Richard Stone and Pallava Bagla writing in Science have filled out a number of the missing cogs effecting the proposed nuclear pact between the United States and India which suggests how that may impinge on the Australian government's approach to selling uranium to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). [More]


Productivity Commission to Review Public Support for Science and Innovation.    (10/03/06)

    The Treasurer, Peter Costello, and the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, today announced that the Productivity Commission will undertake a research study into the economic, social and environmental returns on public support for science and innovation in Australia. [More]


A Sobering Word from the US Presidential Science Advisor.    (10/03/06)

    Just in case you thought US President George W Bush knew or cared about the difference between fundamental research and technology Science publishes this morsel. [More]


Problems in Attracting Specialist Mathematics Teachers are Threatening the UK's Global Competitiveness - Lord Rees.    (09/03/06)

    Yesterday we reprinted a letter from the Jan Thomas, Executive officer of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute to The Australian noting the declining support for the teaching of maths at Australian universities. [More]


On the Teaching of Evolution.    (09/03/06)

    The Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released on February 16 the views of the AAAS in regard to the teaching of evolution in the United States. It is deeply concerned about legislation and policies recently introduced in a number of states and localities that would undermine its teaching. [More]


Science and Kung Fu    (09/03/06)

    Nature reports movie star Jackie Chan has just secured himself a very different type of billing. The Australian National University is naming a new science centre after the action hero as a vote of thanks for his recent donation.


Group of Eight Chairman Gets Warned Off by Indian Academics.    (08/03/06)

    Glyn Davis when he's not being Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University or doing the household chores is Chairman of the Group of Eight. [More]


Its the Numbers Game, Stupid.    (08/03/06)

    Jan Thomas is Executive officer of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute today she wrote asking the editor of The Australian, "Does a university deserve to be called a university if it doesn't take the teaching of mathematics seriously? [More]


Like Those of a Jurassic Dinosaur Brendan Nelson's Footprints are Imbedded in DEST's Substratum.    (08/03/06) [More]


Royal Society's President Has His Say.    (08/03/06)

    Professor Martin Rees - Astronomer Royal, Cambridge cosmologist and since the end of 2005 President of the Royal Society of London -- spoke last week with the BBC's Rebecca Morelle. [More]


US$136 Billion American Competitiveness Initiative: a Breakdown.    (06/03/06)

    It has taken five years and a concerted effort from the enabling sciences but it looks as though a turn around has begun. [More]


Funding for Pre-university Science and Mathematics Programs Takes a Hit at the US' National Science Foundation.    (06/03/06)

    According to Science "at an elite science high school in Dallas, Texas, President George W. Bush told the assembled students that the United States "needs a workforce strong in engineering and science and physics" to remain the world's top economic power." [More]


Larry Summers vs the "Melbourne Model".    (05/03/06)

    When Harvard President Lawrence Summers resigned on February 21, he left behind unfinished business. One of his principal goals was to remake the undergraduate curriculum with the avowed objective of having Harvard graduates more knowledgeable, particularly in the sciences. [More]


The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) Have Announced that 6.7 billion Will be Made Available in 2007-08.    (03/03/06)

         The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) announced that that funding for higher education in England would rise by almost 6% this year while 6.7bn would be made available next year. [More]


The Darwin Digital Library of Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History.    (03/03/06)

    Its stated goal "is to make the full literature of evolution available online within a historically and topically coherent structure". [More]


Announcement of New Chief Scientist is Met with Underwhelming Enthusiasm.    (02/03/06)

    The February 28 announcement by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, of the appointment of Dr Jim Peacock as Australia's new part-time Chief  Scientist got at best a luck-warm reception. [More]