ScienceScope

Science  14 Nov 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5904, pp. 1037
  1. China Looks Ahead

    1. Richard Stone

    BEIJING—China's scientific community is accustomed to planning in 5-year or even 15-year increments. Now, an elite panel of 100-odd scientists organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is compiling a report on vital research directions over the next 50 years. “In China, we sometimes don't know where we want to go. People like to be guided,” says panelist Gao Fu of CAS's Institute of Microbiology here. Although it's impossible to know which research areas will be hot in 2058, the report, expected to be finalized next month, will flag sure bets for long-term investment such as research on chronic diseases.

  2. Military Science, Reloaded

    1. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

    The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) plans to award $80 million in grants this fiscal year to academic scientists as part of a new $400 million investment over 5 years in basic research. The 5-year grants will fund work in emerging areas such as countering weapons of mass destruction, network sciences, energy and power management, quantum information sciences, and bio-inspired systems. The Pentagon's $208 million increase for basic research in 2009 was a lone bright spot among science agencies, which otherwise saw their budgets frozen through at least March 2009. DOD also hopes to fund 40 additional researchers in the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers program, under which DOD currently gives out a few dozen 3- to 5-year grants of $100,000 per year.

  3. This Jaguar's Built for Speed

    1. Eli Kintisch

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory's upgraded supercomputer, dubbed Jaguar, has broken the petaflops barrier. Jaguar's ability to perform 1.3 quadrillion calculations per second leaves it second only to the Road Runner at Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab in California, and Jaguar's accessible to the entire scientific community. Oak Ridge astrophysicist Bronson Messer says the petascale machine will allow scientists to track up to 150 isotopes created during a supernova; current terascale computers can follow only 13. “We should be able to go from getting a general picture of supernovas to being able to predict things,” he says. Now officials with the Department of Energy and the U.S. National Science Foundation hope to establish petascale machines at Oak Ridge and elsewhere to serve more scientists.

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