Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1871


    BOUNDLESS ENERGY. Arthur Rosenfeld was mighty pleased last week to receive the $375,000 Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). But that did not stop him from criticizing the agency's research priorities.

    The spry 80-year-old Rosenfeld—Fermi's last graduate student—was honored for his pioneering work on energy efficiency. But in an interview before the ceremony, he told Science that he was unhappy with the Bush Administration's dwindling support for efficiency research (Science, 5 May, p. 675). A member of the California Energy Commission, Rosenfeld also grumped about DOE's continual cuts to state efficiency programs. “The feds let us down,” he said. DOE officials say other energy research ranked higher in a tight budget.

    Efficiency advocates view the prize cynically. “It's a well-deserved honor from an Administration that doesn't believe in [efficiency],” says Joseph Romm of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation in Washington, D.C. “I think Fermi would have been pleased,” Rosenfeld told the audience, recalling his boss's penchant for turning the laboratory lights off. He says he'll donate the honorarium to the Energy Foundation, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, California, for projects aimed at the developing world.



    NATURE'S STEWARDS. Two Asian scientists have won this year's Blue Planet Prizes, given by Japan's Asahi Glass Foundation to honor environmental research.

    Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese ecologist, receives the award for a theory of forest restoration based on studies of indigenous vegetation disrupted by human activity or natural disaster. The work was used to restore temperate forests on old industrial sites in Japan and tropical rain forests on logged tracts in Malaysia. Miyawaki is the first Japanese national to receive the prize in its 15-year history.

    Emil Salim, an Indonesian economist, is being recognized for highlighting the benefits of sustainable development, particularly among developing countries of Asia.

    Each winner gets a trophy and $435,000.


    ASIAN NOBELS. Three astronomers, two mathematicians, and a biochemist have won this year's $1 million prizes from the Hong Kong-based Shaw Foundation.

    Saul Perlmutter of the University of California, Berkeley; Adam Reiss of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; and Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University in Canberra share the astronomy prize for their role in discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. The mathematics prize will be shared by David Mumford of Brown University (for his research on computer vision) and Wu Wentsun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing (for his role in finding computational solutions to geometrical problems). Xiaodong Wang of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas wins the life science and medicine prize for uncovering the role of the mitochondrion in programmed cell death.


    WARRIOR NO MORE. Thomas Robinson, an accounting professor at the University of Miami in Florida, has lost his alleged link to Genghis Khan. The results from a British gene-testing company this spring (Science, 16 June, p. 1595) made Robinson curious enough to ask for a second opinion. A Texas-based firm that did a more precise analysis of his Y chromosome ruled out any connection to the Mongolian conqueror.


    HOT SEAT. The interim director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program William Brennan admits he's got “huge shoes to fill” in replacing head James Mahoney who left in March. Mahoney was former president of the American Meteorological Society; Brennan has a Ph.D. in ecology and environmental sciences but has no background in climate science. The White House has remained mum on a permanent replacement for Mahoney after he announced his departure last year. Brennan will direct the program while keeping his position as an international affairs official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


    INVESTING IN CHINA. Philanthropist Fred Kavli is betting on China's burgeoning scientific enterprise. Through his foundation, the Norwegian-born U.S. industrialist will help create the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, China, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University. Hosting workshops and fostering collaboration, the institutes aim to become intellectual hubs connecting Chinese physicists to their counterparts in other countries. They join a network of 10 other Kavli Institutes, nine in the United States and one in the Netherlands.

    Kavli also hopes the institutes will help open up Chinese society. “We've been welcomed with open arms,” he says. That marks a significant change from 20 years ago, says Fang Li-Zhi, a physicist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who fled China in 1990 after running afoul of Chinese authorities for his writings on democracy: “Of course, China is still not open. I still cannot go back.”

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