ScienceScope

Science  03 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5569, pp. 823
  1. Into the ITER Ring

    Spain has become the latest country to enter the competition to host the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a $4 billion fusion energy project. Spain last week presented its candidate site at a Moscow meeting of the ITER partners. Spain's entry is expected to compete against offers from Canada, France, Japan, and Russia (Science, 22 June 2001, p. 2240).

    Spain would build ITER on the site of a shuttered nuclear power plant in Vandellós, near Barcelona. Ministry of Science officials tout the site's accessibility and seismic stability. Whether those assets will give Spain an edge, however, won't be known until this summer, when European Union officials decide whether to forward one or both of the continent's entries to a final competition. The ITER parties are expected to select a winning site by the end of the year.

  2. Imaging Chief Tapped

    An Atlanta radiologist will direct the newest institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Roderic Pettigrew (below) of Emory University has accepted the job as chief of the year-old National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

    Pettigrew, who holds a medical degree and a doctorate in radiation physics, has spent most of his career developing cardiovascular imaging techniques. His experience makes him “a very appropriate choice” to bridge the fields of bioengineering and imaging, says Emory radiology chair William Casarella. Pettigrew declined to comment on his appointment, which was expected to be announced this week.

    One of Pettigrew's first tasks will be to shepherd the transfer of certain grants to his institute from the rest of NIH. He must also decide whether to create an intramural program. Pettigrew's appointment means that African Americans now permanently head three of NIH's 27 institutes and centers.

  3. Political Peer Review

    In a highly unusual move, the French Academy of Sciences this week voted to endorse President Jacques Chirac in the 5 May presidential runoff election that pits Chirac against far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen. Citing “exceptional circumstances,” the nonpartisan academy declared that Chirac was the only candidate “capable of permitting the development of research.”