Newsmakers

Science  05 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5808, pp. 23
  1. AWARDS

    CREDIT: T. DEERINCK/THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MICROSCOPY AND IMAGING RESEARCH/UCSD

    IMAGE CONSCIOUS. Ansel Adams had Yosemite; Thomas Deerinck has the mouse retina. Deerinck, a staff scientist at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at the University of California, San Diego, has captured top honors at the Olympus BioScapes competition in San Diego for his image of the optic fiber layer in a mouse retina.

    CREDIT: GREG ADAMS, JEFFERSON LAB

    Deerinck is the first person to win both of the world's top microphotography prizes: In 2002, he took first place in Nikon's Small Worlds competition. Entries for BioScapes must depict the life sciences and be used in research, whereas Nikon's contest is open to all comers.

    Deerinck's prize image, which earned him $5000 in Olympus products, is used in studies of neurofibromatosis, a disease that can cause blindness in children. It's on display at the San Diego Natural History Museum as part of a touring exhibit scheduled for Los Angeles, New York City, and other cities.

  2. THE WORKFORCE

    LIKABLE STRANGER. To not know the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is to love it. That's the curious message from a new Gallup poll of 2600 U.S. adults asked about working for the federal government.

    The Council for Excellence in Government (excelgov.org) is worried about what will happen when millions of baby boomers retire. So it asked Gallup to survey Generation Y (aged 18 to 29), older workers, and various white-collar professionals about the missions and attractiveness of 25 departments and agencies.

    Overall, a bare 37% knew what NSF does, placing it ahead of only the near-invisible Office of Personnel Management. But the agency ranked fifth highest as a potentially interesting place to work. NASA scored near the top in both categories, second in interest and a lofty 86% in awareness. “That's a good place to start,” says Gallup's Darby Miller Steiger. “But it means NSF needs to work harder on getting the word out.”

  3. PIONEERS

    A LASTING GIFT. During the final weeks of their 9-year-old daughter's life, Shayne and Angela Thomas asked Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to develop a cell line from her drug-resistant neuroblastoma. Now, barely 3 months after Christi's death, scientists are gearing up for studies with the cell line, which could one day help others battle this childhood cancer.

    CREDIT: COURTESY OF THOMAS FAMILY

    The Thomases, of Tiffin, Ohio, received a crash course in drug development as a string of clinical trials kept Christi (top) alive for almost 4 years. Going the extra mile to create a cell line, her father says, “is the price I will pay” to help other families. So minutes after Christi died on 19 September, doctors drew a large volume of blood and shipped it to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles lab of C. Patrick Reynolds. Last month, the Thomases learned that the cell line, aptly named FU_NB06, is a reality. It should be available to scientists later this month.

  4. AWARDS

    LEIBNIZ PRIZE. Two women and eight men will receive $3.3 million each over 7 years as winners of this year's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for research. Presented by the German Research Foundation, the funds support work in diverse fields such as endocrinology and medieval history. American-born astrophysicist Guinevere Kauffmann will use the award in her work at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), an ambitious project to create a 3D map of about 1 million galaxies and quasars. “The SDSS has been a tremendously successful and enjoyable project,” she says.

  5. THREE Q'S

    In April, physicist Fred Dylla, 57, becomes executive director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), which represents 10 professional societies and publishes a variety of journals. An administrator at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, Dylla will succeed the retiring Marc Brodsky.

    Q: What is the biggest challenge facing AIP?

    Our primary challenge is to fully embrace and push for the recommendations in Rising Above the Gathering Storm, the [National Academies] report that calls for increased funding for the sciences and science education.

    Q: Will the AIP journals move toward open access?

    Of course, we want the journals to be widely accessible. But the community also wants any publication to be high-quality, peer-reviewed, and archival, and those things have to be paid for. I think there is a business model emerging in which publication fees from the author and subscription fees from large institutions will pay for the value added.

    Q: What can AIP do to increase diversity in physics?

    There's no silver bullet. You have to address the entire pipeline from grade school to mentoring professionals.

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