Friday, May 2, 1997
1. **BROOKHAVEN: FEDERICO PENA TERMINATES BROOKHAVEN CONTRACT.**
On Monday, Associated Universities Inc., the group that has managed BNL for a half Century, announced that a new management team, headed by Lyle Schwartz, would take control. Yesterday, Secretary of Energy Pena announced that DOE is terminating its contract with AUI. Today, the House Science Committee declared its intention to review Pena's decision. Paul Martin of Harvard, AUI board chair, characterized the decision as "unprecedented, precipitous and ill-conceived." Events were set in motion by the belated discovery of a tritium leak from the High Flux Beam Reactor. DOE says it expects to make the transition to a new contractor in about six months; Schwartz will continue to serve as interim director to provide a smooth transition.
2. OSTP: WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES THERE IS NOTHING TO ANNOUNCE.
According to a statement issued Monday, "Dr. John H. Gibbons continues to serve as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. Any contemplation about his successor is premature speculation. Dr. Gibbons has indicated that he may desire to leave this post near the end of the year. When that time comes, a number of leaders in the science and technology community will be considered for this position." The non-announcement was prompted by erroneous reports giving the job to various people. "Cancel the funeral," a White House spokesman said dryly.
3. GRASSROOTS: PHYSICS STUDENT DECIDES TO RE-SEED THE LAWN.
The emergence of an effective lobby for basic research could be the most lasting legacy of last year's Great Budget War. A senior at Georgetown University, Daniel Benson, alarmed by the prospects for aspiring physicists, has launched a campaign through the Society of Physics Students to enlist students in a grassroots effort to secure their own futures. "Don't let Congress balance the budget by sacrificing your future," says his letter to all SPS Chapter Presidents. WN will keep you posted on the campaign.
4. GRAMM BILL: CO-SPONSORS SOUGHT FOR RESEARCH REINVESTMENT ACT.
One item of legislation the student campaign is likely to endorse is Senator Phil Gramm's bill (S. 124) to double the federal investment in basic non-defense research over a 10-year period (WN 24 Jan 97). That works out to about 7% per year -- just what leaders of the science community have been calling for (WN 28 Feb 97). This week, in a "Dear Colleague" letter inviting other senators to co-sponsor S.124, Senator Gramm invokes the joint statement issued by 23 scientific societies calling for 7% to "reverse the trend" in science funding (WN 28 Feb 97).
5. ROLL MODEL: WN APOLOGIZES TO ANYONE OFFENDED
by last week's item on Penrose tiles. One reader said WN "touched new bottoms."