WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 12 May 1989 Washington, DC
THE WHITE HOUSE SEEMS IN NO HURRY TO HAVE BROMLEY CONFIRMED
Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
(WN 28 Apr 89). Senate
sources say they can not schedule hearings until
a request comes from the White House. In an interview with the
Dallas Morning News Bromley was characteristically candid. His
primary goal is to restore American competitiveness by rebuilding
the research base, which has been allowed to wither in recent
years. He promised to fight hard for the SSC, but acknowledged
that in view of the federal deficit the prospects are dim. He
thought the prospects for cold fusion were a lot dimmer.
. MEANWHILE, WILLIAM GRAHAM IS STILL SERVING AS DIRECTOR OF OSTP
until Bromley is confirmed. In the midst of the controversy this
week over the alteration of a NASA scientist's testimony on
global warming by someone at OMB, Graham clarified the position
of the Bush Administration: "We should have regulations be a
consequence of what we understand and be determined by a
knowledge of the consequences of regulating or not regulating."
3. PONS AND FLEISCHMANN SOUGHT TO HAVE THE PRESS EXCLUDED
the Electrochemical Society's cold fusion session in Los Angeles
on Monday. It was a curious turnaround for the two scientists,
who used the press to trumpet their results six weeks earlier. A
compromise was reached in which the press was allowed in, if they
paid the $205 registration, but cameras and recorders were banned
in an apparent effort to preserve deniability. Rent-a-cops were
on hand to enforce the ban. Twelve reporters refused to pay the
registration and were turned away.
4. THE CAL TECH TEAM WAS ALLOWED TO SERVE AS SURROGATE
groups with negative results. The announcement had called only
for confirming papers
(WN 5 May 89). Most of the "confirmation"
was at the level of the BYU experiment. When Nathan Lewis of Cal
Tech described the use of press photos to replicate the Utah
cell, Pons protested that the pictures were of a faulty cell.
Pons and Fleischmann presented little new evidence and admitted
that "The gamma peak is wrong." Several laboratories offered to
analyze small pieces of the Utah cathodes for the presence of
fusion products, but they refused, citing "other arrangements."
5. RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH
were spelled out
in an "Important Notice" from NSF Director Erich Bloch to heads
of all institutions receiving NSF grants. The notice implements
the Rhodes Report issued by the National Science Board
(WN 9 Dec 88). It calls for significant findings
to be submitted for
publication promptly and for primary data, samples, etc., to be
shared readily with other researchers. Institutional policies
should "preserve the prime function of academic institutions as
creators and transmitters of knowledge, while safeguarding the
independence of the faculty and the interests of the students."