Science  05 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5540, pp. 29

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  1. Budget Acceleration

    Europe's flagship particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is having budget troubles. The $1.6 billion project is facing a 20% budget overrun, officials revealed last month, with no easy solution in sight.


    The increases are due to unexpectedly high excavation costs and rising prices for the LHC's 1236 superconducting magnets—which nudge charged particles along their 27-kilometer circular path—according to Luciano Maiani, director-general of CERN, the LHC's home lab near Geneva. Next month, Maiani will have to present CERN's finance committee with a plan for paying the increased cost. It may involve obtaining extra loans and asking LHC partners, including the United States, to cough up more cash.

    Physicist Gerardus't Hooft of Utrecht University in the Netherlands worries that the money troubles could delay LHC operations, now set to start in 2006. But CERN officials aren't worried, saying there are “no technical reasons yet for a delay.”

  2. Retying the Knot

    Scientific collaborations between the United States and India and Pakistan have received a green light in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

    The U.S. government cracked down after both nations tested nuclear weapons in May 1998, requiring U.S. organizations to obtain a license before shipping civilian materials deemed to have a dual military use to more than 300 institutions. The so-called “entities list” was trimmed somewhat in December 1999 and again in March 2000.

    The latest easing, according to Indian officials, lifts the rules for most civilian R&D organizations, including many under the Defense Research and Development Organization. It follows a 22 September decision by President George W. Bush to waive prohibitions on trade in dual-use materials. Sri Krishna Joshi, a solid state physicist and president of the Indian National Academy of Sciences, welcomed the news, calling the restrictions “totally unnecessary.” A small number of agencies involved in nuclear, missile, and space programs in the two countries remain under the restrictions.

  3. A Measure of Quality

    Scientific groups are welcoming White House efforts to narrow new guidelines that allow the public to weigh in on whether information disbursed by agencies is up to snuff.

    The “data quality” rules, which were tucked into a bill last year after lobbying by an antiregulatory group, are meant to assure that agencies disseminate accurate information (Science, 13 July, p. 189). But a requirement that scientific information be “substantially reproducible upon independent analysis of the underlying data” drew scores of concerned comments from the National Academy of Sciences and other academic organizations. They argued that peer review—the accepted process for identifying good science—doesn't require reproducing original results.

    Last week, the protesting paid off: The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) revised guidance “is much improved,” says George Levanthal of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C. OMB now says that publication in a peer-reviewed journal is “presumptively objective.”

  4. Further Fakes

    The Japanese amateur archaeologist who was caught planting artifacts at a site last year (Science, 10 November 2000, p. 1083) has admitted to more deceptions in his efforts to move back the date of the earliest human habitation of the archipelago. But archaeologists say that they will need several more months to complete their investigation of Shinichi Fujimura's work because of his questionable mental health.

    Fujimura has been in a mental institution since the scandal broke and has spoken several times with a panel from the Japanese Archaeological Association. But Kunio Yajima, an archaeologist at Meiji University in Tokyo who serves on the committee, says it could only get limited details from Fujimura: “He is, in a word, sick, and our meetings were severely brief.” Although the committee will release an interim report this week at a meeting in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, its final report is not expected until next spring.

    Meanwhile, other archaeologists aren't waiting. Charles Keally, an American archaeologist based at Sophia University in Tokyo, says that “the community has largely concluded that material [connected to Fujimura] will always be suspect.”

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