Science  21 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5538, pp. 2185

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  1. Emergency Response

    After the World Trade Center collapse, emergency medical care specialists in New York City for a 2-day review of “public access to defibrillation” funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute sprang into action. “There were about 50 of us” from around the country, says Lynne Richardson, chair of emergency medicine at the city's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “We tried to help” by setting up clinics in two hotel ballrooms and recruiting supplies from a nearby pharmacy. They treated a few hundred people for minor injuries but were “frustrated that we couldn't do more,” Richardson says.

  2. Words of Support

    At the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., messages of condolence and support poured in from sister science, medicine, and engineering academies around the world. “To those of us who, through our work in national academies, stand for values of reason and enlightenment and who see ourselves as part of a global family, such a horrendous crime is particularly repugnant,” wrote Paul Callaghan, president of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

  3. No Go

    Thousands of scientists cancelled travel plans after organizers called off scores of meetings. Among the cancellations: “Assembling the Tree of Life,” a major evolution and taxonomy summit scheduled for 20 to 22 September at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (Science, 14 September, p. 1979). “We intended for this symposium to be a celebration of Life on Earth,” read a cancellation e-mail from the organizers.

  4. On Alert

    At the Department of Energy's national laboratories, security was stepped up. The Livermore National Laboratory in California, for instance, closed public areas, moved security checkpoints to outer fences, and began searching all delivery vehicles. Nonessential staff were asked to stay home on the day of the attacks. Researchers with the lab's National Atmospheric Advisory Release Center were put on alert, ready if needed to monitor and forecast the movement of the smoke plumes created by the fires at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

  5. Science Budgets

    Uncertain With government spending plans in disarray due to major new outlays for recovery and military efforts, biomedical researchers fear that the move to double the National Institutes of Health's budget to $27 billion by 2003 is in jeopardy. Although a major increase for next year appears safe, future raises could be scaled back. But some areas—such as research on defenses against biological attack—could prosper.

    Researchers funded by the military, meanwhile, may face feast or famine. Programs judged marginal may be cancelled to free up funds for military operations, observers say. Pentagon R&D projects considered critical—such as developing new security technologies—may be put on a fast track.

    Congressional leaders this week were expected to decide whether to buy themselves some time by passing legislation that would freeze budgets at existing levels for up to 6 months into the new fiscal year, which begins 1 October, or try to finalize new spending numbers by the end of next month.

  6. End of Discussion

    The battle over White House plans to develop a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system is finished, at least for this year. Opponents in the Senate and House this week said they have dropped efforts to cut funds from the president's $8-billion-plus BMD budget request and place restrictions on planned tests, which they fear will breach international arms control agreements (Science, 7 September, p. 1750).

  7. Timely study

    Months before the attack, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, D.C, had already decided the time was right to mount a study of “homeland defense” against terrorism. Now, academy chief William Wulf says the effort will “move ahead smartly,” with a report due “as soon as possible.” He's already recruited a lead staffer—former Congressional Research Service terrorism expert Raphael Perl, and expects to announce panel members soon. “We hope to convey to the public in a nonalarming way what the threats are and what we might do to protect ourselves,” he says. Wulf promises that the homeland defense study will be just the first of several efforts mounted by the U.S. National Academies to “mobilize our immense intellectual resources on this issue.”