Friday, 03 Sept 1993 Washington, DC
1. SHOULD IT BE "THE NATIONAL SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FOUNDATION"?
"No!" thundered APS President Donald Langenberg in a letter to
the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Reflecting an
overwhelming consensus of APS Executive Board members, Langenberg
warned that the proposed name change
(WN 13 Aug 93) would be read
as a change in mission. When NBS became NIST, for example, it
took on a new engineering initiative in support of manufacturing.
It is NSF's role in support of long-range fundamental research
that needs to be emphasized, Langenberg argued, to compensate for
the decline of basic research in industry and government labs.
2. PACIFIC-RIM COUNTRIES ARE INCREASING THEIR INVESTMENT IN R&D.
While US investment in research is lagging, Japan is increasing
R&D at an annual rate of 10%--and that's slow compared to some
other Pacific-rim countries. According to an NSF report, Taiwan,
Singapore and South Korea are ramping up R&D at annual rates of
16%, 20%, and 23% respectively. They are also stressing science
education: 37% of all South Koreans aged 20-24 are enrolled in a
university, with more than a third of them studying science and
engineering. But the US has a huge lead in the production of JDs.
3. SUPERCOLLIDER "BASELINE VALIDATION" REPORT STIRS CONTROVERSY!
The baseline study was one of the management initiatives Energy
Secretary O'Leary promised during congressional testimony on 30
(WN 2 Jul 93).
A month later, armed with a briefing by the
chair of the baseline committee, she told a Senate committee the
SSC was "on time and on budget" (WN 6 Aug 93).
The report she
released on Wednesday, however, says the SSC is headed for a
$1.5B overrun and one-year delay--unless strong corrective action
is taken. Although Secretary O'Leary admits that "critics will
view the document as evidence of massive cost overruns," her spin
is that the report "is a guide for how to prevent cost overruns."
Meanwhile, a giant pep rally in support of the SSC is planned for
Monday afternoon, 13 September, in Washington. Speakers range
from Al Gore (not confirmed) to Stephen Hawking (by videotape).
4. REMEMBER THE "SCALED-DOWN" SPACE STATION FREEDOM? FORGET IT!
That was in June (WN 18 Jun 93).
The new plan is for a merger
between Freedom-Lite and Mir-2. It would be in a 52-degree orbit
to enable launches to the station from Russia. NASA Administrator
Daniel Goldin said he wouldn't expect "a huge loss of U.S. jobs."
5. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS PRIVACY ACT COVERS YOUR THESIS!
Somebody had to ask. In response to a question from a Penn State
archivist, an Education Department official decided that putting
theses in libraries, without written permission of the students,
violates student-privacy laws. Obtaining permission of thousands
of former students would be a major headache for librarians. Ever
helpful, the Department of Education pointed out an alternative
solution: leave the theses in the library--but remove the names.