Science  03 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5800, pp. 755

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    ADAPTING TO THE TIMES. A second Dutch researcher has come under close scrutiny for allegedly collaborating with the Nazi regime—but in this case, his name will live on.


    Earlier this year, two Dutch universities removed the name of Nobelist Peter Debye from a nanomaterials institute and a scientific award after allegations that Debye, who headed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin between 1934 and 1939, had been closer to the Nazis than was previously known (Science, 3 March, p. 1239). Similar accusations had surfaced a year earlier against Pieter Meertens, former head of a Royal Netherlands Academy institute for Dutch language and culture that was named after him in 1979.

    A report last month from an outside panel says that although Meertens's relationship with German occupiers was “opportunistic” and “less than exemplary,” such behavior was widespread at the time. It concludes that Meertens, who died in 1985, was not a “collaborator in the usual sense of the word.” The academy's board says it will follow the panel's recommendation not to change the name of the Meertens Institute.


    A FRESH BEGINNING. Eric Topol, a cardiologist who made headlines 2 years ago as a critic of Merck's painkilling drug Vioxx, has been named head of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Genomic Medicine Program in San Diego, California. The new, multimillion-dollar initiative will hunt for genes tied to heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, and other illnesses in up to 100,000 volunteers of different ethnicities and with different health conditions.


    Topol became one of the country's bestknown doctors over the course of a long career at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. But his relationship with the clinic soured in recent years following his criticism of Merck. His role as adviser to a hedge fund betting against Merck's stock price made him a media target as well, and in February this year, he left the clinic.

    Topol's new job gives him entrée into one of the hottest areas of medicine. “Eric being Eric, he's a doer. I don't think he's going to have any problem starting from scratch,” says Hákon Hákonarson of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.


    BACKING DOWN. Theoretical biologist Sally Blower, who had alleged gender discrimination by two University of California schools where she worked, has dropped the charges against her current employer, UC Los Angeles. Last year, she said her department had mistreated her and the school was preparing to fire her (Science, 1 April 2005, p. 37). But last week, in a statement released by UCLA as part of a confidential settlement, the 48-year-old tenured professor said that she had not been subject to harassment, that her own behavior “was at times inappropriate,” and that her “disparaging statements” against the biomathematics department were “unwarranted.” She now runs a lab at UCLA's Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where her husband, Nelson Freimer, also works.


    RETIRED. World Trade Center conspiracy theorist Steven Jones is retiring from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, next month so that he “can spend more time speaking and conducting research of my choosing.” The 57-year-old physics professor, who joined BYU in 1985, was put on paid leave by the university in September after publishing his view that explosive devices planted inside the World Trade Center could have caused their destruction (Science, 22 September, p. 1727). The terms of his retirement agreement were not disclosed.


    “The sad story is that, nationally, we don't have great leadership on [global warming].”

    —California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger taking a shot at President George W. Bush during a recent campaign speech in San Diego. In September, Schwarzenegger signed a law aimed at cutting greenhouse emissions in his state.