Friday, 30 December 1988
A COMMITMENT TO REPLACE THE 300-FT GREEN BANK RADIO TELESCOPE
was demanded by Senators Rockefeller and Byrd of West Virginia in
a meeting with NSF Director Eric Bloch less than two weeks after
the 15 Nov 88 collapse. They asked for a replacement proposal by
early January--and made it clear that they expect it to be in
West Virginia. Bloch, a fearless opponent of pork-barrel science,
reminded the Senators of his stand against political interference
in awarding NSF funds. Byrd, who is now Chairman of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, was reportedly furious. West Virginia
is dead last among the states in per capita federal support for
(WN 2 Sep 88), and the observatory is vital to
impoverished Pocahontas County. In any case, astronomers insist
there are sound technical arguments for rebuilding on the Green
Bank site. The region is the nation's only "radio quiet zone,"
as mandated by Congress. Today it would be virtually impossible
to create such a zone. A $70M plan to replace the 26-year-old
facility with a modern 100-m tracking dish, operating at shorter
wavelengths, has been prepared. The next move is up to Mr.Bloch.
. THE 1989 AAAS SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY AWARD
will be shared by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Dr. Robert
L. Sprague of the University of Illinois. The NRDC is a non-
profit environmental protection organization. Frustrated by the
inaction of governments on nuclear test ban verification, NRDC
collaborated with the Soviet Academy of Sciences to establish
on-site state-of-the-art seismic monitoring stations in both the
US and the Soviet Union. In spite of obstacles erected by both
the US Department of Defense and the Soviet Ministry of Defense,
this audacious private program has established that verification
is not a barrier to a test ban. This sort of direct positive
action by a public-interest organization, rather than the usual
consciousness raising, is unprecedented. Dr. Sprague, Director
of the Institute of Child Behavior and Development, persevered
over institutional indifference to expose fraudulent research by
a colleague at the University of Pittsburgh, Psychiatrist Stephen
Breuning. Bruening recently plead guilty to federal charges.
3. VICTOR WEISSKOPF WILL RECEIVE THE 1988 ENRICO FERMI AWARD
of the Department of Energy along with biophysicist Richard Setlow.
Weisskopf, one of the nation's most distinguished scientists, is
being honored for his monumental contributions to nuclear and
particle physics. The 80-year-old MIT professor is a Fellow of
the American Physical Society and served as President in 1960.
4. PRESIDENT-ELECT BUSH IS HOLDING BACK ON A SECRETARY OF ENERGY.
Although the Energy job is the only cabinet post left unfilled,
the Washington insiders are confident they know who it will be.
However, the Washington Post says it's Schlesinger, the
McLaughlin Report says Lee Thomas, the Wall Street Journal says
(gasp!) Gen. Abrahamson and I am still assured it's John Deutch.