Newsmakers

Science  16 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5818, pp. 1475
  1. MOVERS

    CREDIT: LI SHULIN

    GLOBAL THINKER. Douglas Lin, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), has been named founding director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA) at Beijing University. KIAA is one of two Chinese institutes established last June with support from the Kavli Foundation.

    The new institute, which plans to recruit up to 15 faculty members from all over the world, will focus on particle cosmology, star and planet formation, and gravitational physics and high-energy phenomena. Beijing University President Xu Zhihong says he expects the institute's autonomy to be a model for strengthening research on campus.

    Lin, who says he “feels equally at home on the shores of the Pacific and Atlantic,” was born in New York City, grew up in Beijing, attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. For the next 2 years, he plans to split his time between KIAA and UCSC, where he has been a professor since 1979. From then on, he expects to spend at least 3 months every year at KIAA.

  2. ON CAMPUS

    TAKING A LONG VIEW. Over the years, astronomer Richard Kron has used the 1-meter refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, to get students interested in science. He's now hoping to save the long-obsolete observatory, built in 1897, by turning it into a science education center.

    CREDIT: YERKES OBSERVATORY

    In a cost-saving move, the University of Chicago announced in 2005 that it was going to sell Yerkes and 18 hectares of surrounding woods. A New York real estate company offered $10 million. After local residents objected to its plans to build 72 houses and a hotel, the university tapped Kron—who directed Yerkes from 1989 to 2001 and is a professor at the university—to lead a committee to study alternative uses for the site. Kron thinks that an education center would be ideal if it can pay its own way. The panel began meeting last month, and Kron hopes to submit a plan by the summer.

  3. HONORS

    HOME ON THE MOON. A desolate spot on the methane-soaked surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan has been named in honor of Hubert Curien, a former French science minister and advocate of European space science.

    Curien, a soft-spoken crystallography professor who died in February 2005 at the age of 80, headed France's giant research agency, CNRS, and its space agency, CNES, before serving as minister under four governments. He also chaired the European Space Agency (ESA) council and played a key role in setting up its long-term science program and the Ariane launcher project.

    A ceremony to name the site where the European Huygens probe landed a month before Curien died took place this week at ESA headquarters in Paris. “It is … a true honor for us to pay tribute to his memory by linking his name forever to this very significant place on the surface of an alien world that, also thanks to him, we were able to reach,” said ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain.

  4. MISCONDUCT

    MEA CULPA. Indian science policy heavyweight Raghunath Mashelkar has acknowledged that a 2004 book he co-authored on intellectual property contains plagiarized text. It's the second such incident in the past month for Mashelkar, a chemical engineer who earlier this year retired as head of India's main research agency (Science, 2 March, p. 1205).

    CREDIT: GAUTAM SINGH/AP PHOTO

    The book, Intellectual Property and Competitive Strategies in the 21st Century, contains a page-and-a-half-long section copied line by line from a 1996 paper by Darrell Posey and Graham Dutfield in the Bulletin of the Working Group of Traditional Resource Rights. Dutfield, a patent law researcher at the University of London, discovered the plagiarism 3 years ago and complained to the publisher, but the story became public after The Times of India reported it last month. In the 2006 Indian edition, the copied text appears within quotation marks, with a footnote referencing the source.

    Mashelkar says he's very sorry. “I was working on so many things at the time that I took the help of researchers to add new information to what I had written,” he told Science in a phone interview during which he broke down. “Unfortunately, they copied verbatim from somebody else's writings. I know it is a sin. But I was so pressed for time that this skipped my attention.”

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