ScienceScope

Science  18 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5827, pp. 967
  1. No Smoking, Says California Faculty

    1. David Grimm

    Last week, the University of California (UC) faculty senate voted 43-4 against a university-wide ban on tobacco money for research. But antitobacco crusaders haven't given up their 4-year fight. Benjamin Allen, a UC Berkeley law student and future student member of UC's governing body, the regents, is campaigning for a sterner review process for all tobacco industry-funded grants.

    Advocates of the ban say that tobacco firms sponsor questionable research and strong-arm fundees. But critics worry that such a ban would curtail academic freedom and threaten other corporate-funded research. The regents put off a vote in January pending the faculty senate's action (Science, 26 January, p. 447) and are expected to reject the ban at their July meeting.

    Allen's proposal includes an additional level of grant review and a new faculty board to analyze research. Also offered is the chance for individual UC units such as the UC San Diego Cancer Center to ban tobacco money—an action the faculty senate outlawed in 2005. “UC is the only institution in the world that forbids its academic units from declining tobacco money,” says Stanton Glantz, a bioengineer at UC San Francisco and a key force behind the proposed ban. Stanford is debating a similar ban and could vote on it as early as this week.

  2. Iranians Back Into ACS Fold

    1. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

    The American Chemical Society (ACS) has reinstated 36 Iranian members dumped in January because of the U.S. trade embargo. But ACS will continue to withhold certain member benefits until it obtains a government license.

    Although U.S. organizations are prohibited from doing business with anybody in Iran, Cuba, or North Korea, an exemption enables U.S. scholarly societies to have members in those countries. But late last year, ACS officials decided that the full range of membership benefits—which includes discounted journal subscriptions, career counseling, meeting invitations, and insurance—crossed the line.

    That ruling drew protest from scores of ACS members. And ACS Executive Director Madeleine Jacobs says she was not part of the decision. “I learned about the move from Science,” she says (Science, 30 March, p. 1777). Last week, the society reversed its decision. But it could be months before ACS obtains a license that would enable it to provide Iranian members with discounted meeting registrations and career-development services.

  3. Foreigners Welcome, Bush Aide Says

    1. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

    The Bush Administration appears to have thrown its weight behind a proposal to grant automatic green cards to foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with Ph.D.s in science and engineering. Speaking earlier this month at the annual S&T Forum of AAAS (publisher of Science), presidential science adviser John Marburger noted that it is “foolish to send [foreign Ph.D.s] home when we want to take advantage of their training and they often want to stay.” The proposal is contained in a comprehensive immigration reform bill that is scheduled for debate in the Senate this week and could get a vote in the coming weeks. (A similar bill passed the Senate last year but died in the House due to its guest-worker program.) Backers of high-tech immigration say Marburger's stance is the strongest Administration endorsement yet of opening the doors wider to foreign talent.

  4. House to Spies: Investigate Skies

    1. Eli Kintisch

    The House of Representatives wants the U.S. intelligence community to consult with climate scientists next year to prepare a report on how climate change will affect American global security interests. The measure, passed as part of a yearly authorization of intelligence programs, drew objections from Republicans who worried about its cost. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) suggested that studying “bugs and bunnies” would duplicate existing efforts and could damage morale. Democrats cited a report last month from 11 retired generals who said that climate change is a “threat multiplier for instability” in volatile areas.

    The legislation now moves to the Senate. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell wrote Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) last week that he likes the idea. But he thinks that requiring such reports would set a bad example.

  5. Under the Umbrella, Everyone

    1. John Bohannon

    Particle physics in Germany received a $95 million windfall this week with the creation of the Helmholtz Alliance. The umbrella organization, launched by the Helmholtz Association, Germany's publicly funded research behemoth, will support 50 new full-time positions for particle physics research and engineering across the country and a new computing center at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg for analyzing data from the particle accelerator at CERN in Switzerland.