Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1291
  1. House Boosts Energy Science

    The White House's plan for a 10-year doubling of the research budgets at three important agencies passed its first hurdle last week after the U.S. House of Representatives met the president's request to boost funding next year for the Office of Science at the Department of Energy by 14%, to $4.1 billion. That office, which supports most U.S. fundamental physics, is part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, which includes the National Science Foundation and the in-house labs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, whose 2007 budgets have yet to be drafted. Research lobbyists now turn to the Senate, where expectations are high.

  2. A French Twist in Pasadena

    A French-born civil engineer is the new president of the California Institute of Technology. Jean-Lou Chameau, 53, has helped transform the Georgia Institute of Technology into a powerhouse of engineering research as provost and vice president of academic affairs. This fall, he will succeed Nobelist David Baltimore, who is stepping down after 9 years.


    At Georgia Tech, Chameau led a sizable expansion of its research portfolio, forged closer links with industry, and helped establish a satellite presence in France, Ireland, and Singapore. “He is an excellent businessman in the scientific arena,” says Georgia Tech physicist Uzi Landman. That makes Chameau “well-suited to the challenges and opportunities of the Caltech presidency,” says Baltimore.

  3. Vitamins for Chinese Pharma

    China's burgeoning pharmaceutical industry got a boost last week from U.K.-based AstraZeneca, which announced a 3-year, $100 million research investment. The firm has conducted clinical research in China since 2001 (Science, 29 July 2005, p. 735). Most of the new money will increase efforts to apply basic discoveries to clinical practice, including, by 2009, a so-called Innovation Center at a site to be decided later. The company also plans to expand in-country collaborations, including its partnership with researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on the genetics of schizophrenia.

  4. New Archaeology Fund

    A new grants program for young archaeologists in Indonesia and East Timor has made its first awards, notwithstanding the current devastation and turmoil in the archipelago. A three-person team from Makassar, Indonesia, and an archaeologist from Yogyakarta, the ancient city near the recent quake's epicenter, will each receive $3800 for prehistory research from the Anthony F. Granucci Fund. The fund is endowed from the estate of the late lawyer, who had a passion for Indonesian culture.

    “Most students [in the region] are forced to work on government-sponsored projects designed by someone else,” says archaeologist John Miksic of the National University of Singapore. He says the grants “should lead to a lot more innovative research topics and strategies” by encouraging students to pursue their own ideas.

  5. A Climate of Change?

    Although they aren't likely to pass any legislation this year related to climate change, U.S. lawmakers seem to be warming to the issue. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), despite viewing controls as a “hoax” based on the “supposed threat of global warming,” last week convened a closed meeting that included oil and gas business leaders and environmentalists to promote “a better understanding of the technologies that drive emission reductions.” Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. The same day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called on the government to reengage in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process with an eye toward “minimiz[ing] the cost.”

    Supporters of climate change measures also noted three other developments last week. The Government Accountability Office, the watchdog for Congress, reported that federal voluntary carbon-cutting programs touted by the Bush Administration account for less than one-half of U.S. emissions, and that there are few administrative controls to track company participation. A poll found that 70% of a national sample of hunters and sport fishers believe that warming poses a “serious threat” to humans. “There's a shift going on in … the political dialogue,” says David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He and other activists also hope for a boost from An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary on former vice president Al Gore's antiwarming crusade.

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