News & Views Index
August 2006



President of the Australian Conservation Foundation Doesn't Exhibit the Pre-emptive Crumbles.    (31/08/06)

    The president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Ian Lowe, has been a bit more visible -- mediawise -- than usual. [More]


The Research Quality Framework -- the Saga Continues.    (30/08/06)

    Whenever Nick Park and Aardman Animations decide that they've done enough with Creature Comforts, they might consider doing a new series of interviews with the political, bureaucratic  and academic animals in Australia -- and the UK. [More]


Business Investment in R&D Shows a Steady but Slow Increase.    (28/08/06)

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today published figures showing Australian business expenditure on R&D (BERD) grew for the 6th year in a row. [More]


Reduced Literacy and Numeracy of Australia's Teachers and the Governmental Quick Non-Fix.    (28/08/06)

    It was a leading news story in all sections of the media this morning. So? [More]


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Printers -- Evolutionary Biology Vanished from the List of Acceptable Fields of Study for Recipients of US Federal Education Grants for Low-Income University Students.    (25/08/06) [More]


Pluto Officially Becomes, "The Prototype of a New Category of Trans-Neptunian Objects".    (25/08/06)

    After considerable sole searching and not a little acrimony, the International Astronomical Union meeting in Prague decreed on August 24 that to qualify as a planet in orbit around our Sun, an aggregate of matter must... [More] 


The ARC -- the Silly Season -- and the RQF.    (23/08/06)

    The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (ARC), Peter Hj, said that because the number of Discovery Grant applications was mounting and had  now exceeded 4,000 the situation for reviewing them was getting out of hand. [More]


Just When You Thought Universities Were Going South, Along Comes the Panacea.    (23/08/06)

    Perhaps you are under the delusion that Harvard is No.1 because of its faculty, funding base and research infrastructure. [More]


That $18.3 Million Three-year Scheme to Provide CSIRO With 40 Extra Postdocs and 10 New Positions for Leading Scientists.    (23/08/06)

    On July 19, the Minister for Education, Science and Training, referred to Australia suffering a likely short-fall of as much as 35% in its estimated requirement for scientific professionals within six years. [More]


First Australian Fields Medallist Announced.    (22/08/06)

        Professor Terence Tao (31) was today awarded one of four Fields Medals at the International Congress of  Mathematicians (ICM) which meets once every four years. [More]


The Australian Museum Announces the 2006 Eureka Prize winners.    (22/08/06)

    The winners in the 2006 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes were announced at the award dinner this evening at the Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney. [More]


Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Publishes its 2006 Top 500 Research Universities.    (19/08/06)

    Begun in 2003 the Institute of Higher Education's rankings of the world's research universities has become the de facto standard despite more recent entries from The Times and the entry this month from Newsweek. [More]


When Stupidity Reigns.    (19/08/06)

    Bob Park in his What's New column this week reports on ructions in NASA's advisory council when some members told the US Congress as they see matters at the agency with respect to support for science. [More


The Royal Society Makes a Plea for Support for UK Physics, Chemistry and Maths.    (18/08/06)

    The Royal Society continuing its practice under its current president of telling it like it is, says that to turn around the long term declines in A-level chemistry, physics and maths in the UK in order for the British Government to meet its ambitions of raising the numbers of students studying these subjects will require "a Herculean effort". [More]


When Small is Beautiful.    (17/08/06)

    In his recent book, The Australian Miracle, Thomas Barlow makes a case for supporting small science saying if "big science" is fostered in such a manner to discourage the creativity emanating from "small science", it is a destructive element. [More]


Sydney University Diverts $30M from Building Research Facilities to Cover the Shortfall Caused by the Demise of Compulsory Student Union Fees.    (16/08/06)

    The Sydney University Senate on Monday approved the payment of $30 million over three years to pay $217 per student for each of the next three years to cover services previously funded by compulsory student union fees. [More]


Federal Government Partyroom Debate on Therapeutic Cloning/Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Remains Unfinished: the Scorecard So Far.    (16/08/06)

    The question of allowing human embryonic stem cell research to be extended beyond the use of fertilised embryos otherwise destined for destruction was debated yesterday in the Coalition partyroom of the Federal government. [More]


Newsweek Publishes its List of the "Top 100 Global Universities".    (15/08/06)

    Australia scores eight of the places while the top spots go to the usual players. [More]


The AVCC Receives its Report Card and is Told it's Time to Reinvent Itself.    (14/08/06)

    At the beginning of this year the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) commissioned PhillipsKPA "to undertake a review of the AVCCs 'structure and operational arrangements'". [More]


Ms Bishop Fronts the National Press Club Round Two.    (13/08/06)

    "Australia has the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita in the world." [More]


US Federal Government's Commission on the Future of Higher Education Approves Final Report  Urging a Broad Shake-up of American Higher Education.    (13/08/06)

    This past Thursday 18 of the 19 members on the Commission on the Future of Higher Education voted to sign a report which calls for public universities to measure learning with standardized tests, federal monitoring of college quality and sweeping changes in financial aid. [More]


UK Secondary School Students Eschew Physics as too Difficult But...    (13/08/06)

    Science 1982 analysis by researchers from the University of Buckingham shows that the number of A-level exam entries in physics has halved since 1982. [More]


Taiwan on Track to Support Research and Development to Reach 3% of GDP by 2008.    (11/08/06)

    According to a report in today's Science Taiwan's National Science Council (NSC) has approved an A$3.4 billion science budget for 2007. [More]


US Congress Gears to Revisit Stem-Cell Legislation In January 2007 When the Newly Elected Houses Will Convene.    (10/08/06)

    While Australia's Federal Coalition Government prepares to reinforce its bankrupt policy of straight-jacketing stem-cell research, the US congress is preparing to reengage with President George W Bush who vetoed a bill sent up this past July. [More]


Caveats When Using Metrics in a Research Assessment (Quality)  Exercise (Framework).    (09/08/06)

    Over the past several years the use of citation indices has become increasingly popular in assessing the work of research. [More]


Peter Costello -- and others -- Take Note -- Cute Meerkats Have a Darker Side.    (09/08/06)

    Are meerkats friendly altruistic animals who look after each other's young, or a back-stabbing selfish bunch? [More]


"It's the Quality of the Degree and International Standing of the Institution that Counts."    (07/08/06)

    The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, in the middle of April began to emphasise the importance of the Bologna Reforms saying that Australian universities must pay heed to them. [More]


Monash University is Being "Driven" to Changes it Wants to Have.    (07/08/06)

    When the Prime Minister, John Howard, past the cudgel for Education, Science and Training to Julie Bishop, he must have enjoined her, in his briefing, to "shake 'em up" paraphrasing  Mr Smallweed somewhat. [More]


Five Views Regarding Climate Change by What the Royal Society Calls Members of its "Family" of Scientists.    (04/08/06)

    By clicking on the name of the contributor in the graphic, you'll bring up the text of what he has to say. [More]


While Australia's Higher Education Sector Continues to Fibrillate, an Overseas University Appears to Look Seriously to the Future.    (03/08/06)

    It was made available to the university's administration, faculty and student body a fortnight ago -- The Preliminary Report from the University Planning Committee for Science and Engineering. [More]