News & Views Index
January 2007



An Assembly for the Discussion of a Question of Public Consequence.    (31/01/07)

    A forum, An investment In Australia's future: why the mathematical sciences matter is to be held at the Australian Academy of Science's Shine Dome this coming Wednesday February 7. [More]


UK University Vice-Chancellors and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown Still Butting Heads.    (30/01/07)

    "Disagreements over research are straining the relationship between the Treasury and universities". [More]


Hubble Space Telescope's Power Supply Problems Means Main Camera May Not Regain Full Functionality.    (30/01/07)

    NASA reports that the Hubble Space Telescope's problem is with the power supply to the Advanced Camera for Surveys, or ACS has forced it to be shut down. [More]


While John Howard Checks on English Competence of Overseas Students, Manmohan Singh Looks into India's Decline in Science.    (29/01/07) [More]


Julie to John: What Page of the Code Book are We Using?    (25/01/07)

    Things are looking a bit confused and if the Leader of the federal Labor opposition, Kevin Rudd, thinks he's set the cat among the pigeons he may have a point, but he's got some work to do before he has the public believing it really is an important matter and Australia's researchers and educators believing he's gonna put worthwhile resources where his rhetoric is. [More]


UK Think-Tank Demos Issues a Cautionary Note Regarding Scientific Progress in Asia.    (25/01/07)

    Demos warns governments in the West not to react in a defensive way to this growth. [More]


Oxford V-C Gets a "Please Explain" From UK Government on Why His Governance Reforms Foundered.    (24/01/07)

    I would now like to ask, therefore, how you expect the process of governance reform to move forward.-- Chief Executive HEFCE, David Eastwood. [More]


Rudd Releases Labor's Education Directions Paper But Policy Specifics Remain to be Promulgated.    (23/01/07)

  In his opening remarks he told his audience, "If the 19th century was driven by an industrial revolution, and the 20th century by a technological revolution, what is needed for the 21st century is an education revolution." [More]


Bart Gordon, New Chair of US House of Representatives Science Panel Comments on the Bush "Scientific Team".    (22/01/07) [More]


How Do We Fit Into the Ultimate Scheme of Things.    (22/01/07)

    The January 5 issue of the journal Science boasts a special section on "Catching Cosmic Clues: Particle Astrophysics". [More


Bishop Serves Up a Mixture of  Curate's Egg and Dog's Breakfast in Her Year As Minister for Education, Science and Training.    (20/01/07)

    In what must be the mildest of rebukes Dorothy Illing of The Australian reports that a year after Julie Bishop was made federal Minister of Education, Science and Training her "detractors say she has lost some of the policy impetus she displayed when she assumed the mantle, a claim she hotly denies." [More]


Australian Born Fields Medallist, Terence Tao, Makes a Point Regarding the "Selling" of Maths and Science in Australia.    (20/01/07)

    Terry Tao said yesterday [Australian] students were mostly unaware of "how useful and powerful mathematics is in the modern world" but "lukewarm and fluctuating support ... both financial and rhetorical, from community and governments". [More]


Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation -- A US National Academy of Sciences Report.    (20/01/07)

    The US National Academy of Sciences on January 15 published their two year study on the state of the current U.S. civilian Earth observing system and has come to the overall conclusion it "is at risk of collapse". [More]


"We haven't generated enough of the next generation (of scientists and mathematicians) and our capacity to do so will decline markedly over the next 10 years."    (17/01/07)

    So said CSIRO Chief of mathematical and information sciences Murray Cameron. [More]


Harvard Looks to 2057 and a Multibillion Dollar Expansion of Facilities but no Increase in Student Numbers.    (16/01/07)

    The Harvard Crimson reported last week, "University officials yesterday unveiled their most detailed plans yet for the development of a new campus." [More]


Minister Good -- Universities Evil.    (15/01/07)

    To hear the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, you'd come to the conclusion that Australia's universities, well maybe not all of them, are ripping off their students (perhaps we ought to call them clients or customers, students is so... well... eighties). [More]


Metrics or Peer Review for the Research Quality Framework: Two Views do Little to Clear Away the Fog.    (13/01/07)

    October 2006 -- ANU's Steele, Butler and Kingsley published a 14 page summary of  "the effects of the increasing global trend towards measuring research quality and effectiveness through publication-based metrics.  January 10, 2007 -- The Australian's Higher Education Section -- Nigel Bond, University of Western Sydney, questions the use of peer review to determine, for the Research Quality Framework, relative competence of university research. [More]


California Governor Schwarzenegger Proposes Using  $US$14.9 Billion from General Funds for Higher Education.    (12/01/07)

    California's newly re-elected governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has brought down a budget which includes US $14.9 (A$19.1) billion in general fund money for higher education. [More]


Problems Associated With the Storage of High-Level Nuclear Waste.    (12/01/07)

    A letter in this weeks Nature describes the damage caused to a solid's structure by radio-active decay incorporated into the sort of ceramic proposed to be used for the storage of high-level nuclear waste. It will certainly be cited by those opposing the building of nuclear power plants in Australia. [More]


The Uhrig Report -- The Sacking of the ARC Board -- And What Else?    (11/01/07)

     In November of 2002 the Federal Coalition Government appointed John Uhrig AC, Chairman of Westpac in the early 1990s,  to conduct a review of the corporate governance of Commonwealth statutory authorities and office holders. Paddy Gourley gives an update as of December 2006. [More]


The Scholar Rescue Fund Aids Scholars Whose Lives and Work Are Threatened in Their Home Countries.    (11/01/07)

    The International Institute of Education founded the Scholar Rescue Fund in 2002 with the commitment "that threatened scholars find safe haven and continue their work." [More]


Australian Institute of Marine Science: Bishop Announces Four Year Funding Package, AIMS CEO Gives His Assessment.    (10/01/07) [More]


Opposition Labor Leader, Kevin Rudd Gives Some Hints as to Possible Education and Science Policies to Come.    (09/01/07)

    He says he is considering as a possibility giving former science and maths teachers bonus payments to lure them back to the classroom and he will return the Chief Scientist to serve a fulltime meaningful role. [More]


"It's just not worth the possible risk to my program's future funding." -- Senior CSIRO Scientist When Refusing to be Interviewed -- Rosslyn Beeby.    (09/01/07)

     The Canberra Times' Rosslyn Beeby, reports, "Here in Australia we've seen intimidation, exclusion from influence, political ridicule and censorship of scientists. We've also seen a dumbing down of the political debate on climate change as a result, with rhetoric rather than science the weapon of choice adopted by government and opposition." [More]


Two Émigré Islamic Scientists in a Correspondence to Nature Have a Message That Shouldn't be Lost on Western Governments Who Micromanage Their Higher Education Systems.    (09/01/07)

    Two Yemenis scientists discuss the problems faced by scientific research and the infrastructure required to support it in the Muslim/Arab world; their observations hold meaning for those Western governments which have shown an increasing tendency to under fund and micromanage their universities and public research facilities. [More]


Symposium at The University of Haifa Warns of Looming Crisis for Israeli Research Universities.    (05/01/07)

 On January 2 Sheldon Kirshner of the Canadian Jewish Times reported on a December symposium held at the University of Haifa, one of the seven Israeli research universities. [More]


Emeritus Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London Predicts The Future for UK Universities in 2007.    (05/01/07)

    John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and among other pursuits is a regular columnist for The Guardian. [More]


Labor's Shadow Minister for Science, Senator Kim Carr, Makes a Statement but Doesn't Tip His Hand.    (04/01/07)

The Labor opposition's Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, yesterday issued a lengthy statement "Science failure undermines industry" in which he berates the Coalition government of John Howard for "failing to keep pace with our OECD competitors... [More]


Senior Cabinet Members Put Ms Bishop in Her Place.    (04/01/07)

    If the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, had any illusions as to just where she as a newbie to the Cabinet was placed in the pecking order, the current budget discussions within Cabinet should have should have clarified her position. [More]


Australia May Have a Chief Scientist But Who in the Government Pays Any Attention to Him.    (03/01/07)

    On December 12, 2006 in an ABC interview Australia's Chief Scientist, Jim Peacock told Sabra Lane... [More]


University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Continues to Exhibit the Corporate CEO Mentality.    (02/01/07)

    "We're going to have to compete and compete on a range of fronts. We're looking for the flexibility to be much more responsive to our markets ... in order to stay viable." [More]


Tertiary Entry Scores for Batchelor of Science Among Lowest for Any Degree.    (02/01/07)

    "It's about the perception of science in the community and it's about the perception of teaching, and that's where science teachers have a double whammy." [More]