Newsmakers

Science  10 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5839, pp. 731
  1. IN THE MEDIA

    CREDIT: RONALD LEITO/UTRECHT UNIVERSITY

    CREATIONIST SPIN. Dutch evolutionary biologist Gerdien de Jong doesn't like how the EO, an evangelical public broadcasting group, has been editing the work of BBC documentary maker David Attenborough. So she's put on YouTube and on a Dutch evolution blog a sample of what she considers egregious examples from Attenborough's series The Life of Mammals.

    In the Dutch version, a voice-over translates “100 million years ago” as “long ago” and “our closest relatives” as simply “apes.” Entire scenes are removed, including one in which Attenborough, brandishing a flashlight, wanders through a dark forest to explain mammals' modest place before the dinosaurs died out, and another in which he explains how marsupials ended up in Australia and South America thanks to continental drift. And his episode on human evolution is entirely excluded. “I want the EO to stop censoring,” says De Jong.

    A spokesperson says the station has the right to edit the documentaries to avoid contradictions with the biblical account of creation, which the BBC confirms. Attenborough himself seems unperturbed. The list of omissions faxed to him by a reporter “seemed fairly innocuous to me,” he told Science.

  2. HONORS

    CREDIT: COURTESY OF BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY

    INDELIBLE. The government of Greece has issued a postal stamp in honor of Greek neurophysiologist George Cotzia, who pioneered the use of L-dopa—a chemical similar to dopamine—for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Cotzia was a “rare intellectual with a high consciousness of his mission,” says Spyros Marketos, a biologist at the University of Athens Medical School in Greece. The stamp marks the 30th anniversary of Cotzia's death.

  3. HONORS

    EMBO PRIZE. Jan Löwe of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, U.K., is the winner of this year's Gold Medal from the European Molecular Biology Organization. Löwe wins the prize—which includes a cash award of $14,000—for his studies on the structure and function of proteins involved in bacterial cell division.

  4. MOVERS

    YOUNG AT HEART. The head of one of the largest biomedical philanthropies in the United States has announced her retirement after 13 years on the job. Enriqueta “Queta” Bond, 68, will step down as president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) next year, but she intends to remain “involved in science policy and philanthropy.”

    Bond oversaw a doubling of BWF's endowment to $800 million and led a movement to improve opportunities for young biomedical researchers. Under her leadership, BWF launched several initiatives to help early-career scientists become independent, which became a model for the National Institutes of Health's Pathway to Independence Awards that were set up last year.

    CREDIT: DAN SEARS

    In addition to fellowships, BWF has supported scientific career development by co-sponsoring lab management courses with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and by supporting the AAAS/Science career-development site, Science Careers. “We need to continue to invest in people and take risks on young scientists,” she says.

  5. CAMPAIGNS

    CREDIT: RYAN K. MORRIS/THE NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MEDALS FOUNDATION

    TESTING HIS MEDAL. Nobelist Torsten Wiesel has spent a lifetime championing human rights around the world. Last month, the neuroscientist and former university administrator made his case directly to President George W. Bush during a White House ceremony to honor the winners of the 2005 and 2006 National Medals of Science and Technology.

    After receiving his medal, Wiesel handed Bush a letter expressing concern about the government's treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and its policy of “not giving full recognition” to the Geneva Convention. Wiesel says Bush put the letter in the inside pocket of his jacket without comment.

    Wiesel, who along with David Hubel did pioneering research on how the visual system works, says he was inspired by a similar act by a group of high school students visiting Washington, D.C., this summer as Presidential Scholars. “I am not a publicity seeker, but I thought to say nothing would be shameful,” says the Swedish-born Wiesel, a former president of Rockefeller University who served as chair of the National Academies' Committee on Human Rights from 1994 to 2004. “The United States has lost its standing as a beacon of freedom. It is much more difficult for us today to lecture other countries about human rights because they can turn around and ask, 'What are you doing in Guantánamo?'”

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