Science  26 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5850, pp. 545

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    Although scientific links between India and the United States have strengthened in recent years, each country has its own agenda in space exploration. In separate interviews recently, Science asked Michael Griffin, NASA's administrator, and G. Madhavan Nair, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), about Indo-U.S. collaboration.


    Q: Are India and America racing to get a person once again on the moon?

    Griffin: Certainly we are not racing; we can hope to go together. NASA will not join the Indian program but would want India to join with us.

    Nair: The relationship between ISRO and NASA has improved, [and] there is a desire to cooperate.

    Q: Will NASA train Indian astronauts for the space shuttle and beyond?

    Griffin: We did make the offer, and the Indian government declined. Maybe at a later time when we are flying beyond the space shuttle, India may choose to join in.

    Nair: As yet, the plans are independent of each other. If there is an immediate need to send an Indian astronaut, there are the Russian modules. But India's access to space is important.

    Q: Are U.S. export-control laws a stumbling block?

    Griffin: There is some concern and frustration in India with [these laws], and it is frustrating for us as well. … We are very concerned about the proliferation of missile technology.

    Nair: Thanks to the export-control laws, ISRO has learnt [to indigenize technology] the hard way. Removal of these restrictions would speed up India's efforts to undertake a manned space mission.



    FORTUNE LOST? Entomologist Evert Schlinger has studied spiders and flies for 7 decades. He also oversaw a family foundation once worth nearly $55 million that supported researchers around the country. Somehow, it all went bad.

    In 2004, Schlinger resigned under pressure from the foundation, which sued him and several advisers for fraud and mismanagement. Last month, a jury in Santa Barbara County, California, found Schlinger and the others guilty of those charges and ruled that they owed the foundation $35 million. The foundation's lawyer, Scott Campbell, argued that Schlinger had embezzled $293,760 and illegally invested more than $20 million in a failing go-cart company.

    Schlinger denies any theft. He admits he and his advisers “made some mistakes now and then” but says the goal was to prevent taxes from eroding the foundation's endowment. Campbell says the foundation, now worth about $6 million, will try to recoup its losses. “The real tragedy here is the science,” he says. “Entomology is what suffers.”


    COMPUTE THIS. An Italian physicist is the winner of this year's $350,000 Microsoft European Science Award, given out by the United Kingdom's Royal Society and the French Académie des Sciences. Giorgio Parisi, a professor of quantum theories at the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” received the honor last week for his contributions to particle physics, quantum field theory, and statistical mechanics. Parisi gets to keep $10,000 for himself; he'll use the rest of the award to build a next-generation computing platform capable of simulating complex systems.



    UNDYING SPIRIT. The General Electric Co. (GE) has donated $300,000 to endow three graduate fellowships at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) in Blacksburg in honor of Liviu Librescu, Kevin Granata, and G. V. Loganathan, engineering professors killed on campus earlier this year by a student gunman (Science, 27 April, p. 525).

    “We hope in some small way we can contribute to the healing process,” says Charles “Chip” Blakenship Jr., general manager of the GE Aero Energy group. As head of recruiting for GE at the university, Blakenship estimates that he hires 50 to 70 Hokies (VT alums) a year. “It hit me very hard,” Blakenship says of the tragedy. “I'm a second-generation Hokie.”