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U.K. Pullback Threatens Joint Space Programs

By | September 7, 1987

LONDON—Cooperation between Western Europe and the United States on the manned space station have been thrown in doubt by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s decision not to boost the British space budget. Thatcher’s announcement that there was little immediate hope for an increase in Britain’s $170 million annual spending on civilian space technology dashed the hopes of her partners in the 13-nation European Space Agency that the country would become a leading contribut

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U.K. Schools Compete for New Centers

By | September 7, 1987

LONDON—British universities have been invited to participate in a network of interdisciplinary research centers that will be created if the government provides sufficient funds. The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) hopes to set up at least 10 such centers during the next three years as part of a new strategy to support state-of-the-art basic research that will have commercial applications. The program is similar in many ways to the new Science and Technology Centers prog

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Export and other controls over the dissemination of “technical data” are part of the federal government’s efforts to inhibit or prevent the transfer of advanced technology of critical military or intelligence importance from the United States to the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations. Some university research results might be technical data of the kind subject to these controls. The present situation of security controls—which for the most part exempts academic

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Weapons Researchers

By | September 7, 1987

LIVERMORE, CALIF.—The nation's nuclear weapons researchers are working in ways that are not inconsistent with a future test-ban treaty, says a University of California panel asked to examine the scientists’ role in the arms race. The university’s Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee failed to find evidence to support accusations that the scientists were trying to block such a ban on testing by designing weapons that must be tested constantly by explosions. Rather, the

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What Science Did Last Summer

By | September 7, 1987

June Brood 10 of the periodical cicada reappeared in the eastern United States. Brood 10 is the largest group of these remarkable insects, which are known (erroneously) in American folklore as 17-year locusts. For 17 years the nymphs linger beneath the surface of the soil. Then millions emerge, climb the nearest tree, shed their skins, sing love songs that would do credit to a heavy-metal rock group, mate, lay eggs, and die. A few weeks later the new nymphs drop to the ground from which their

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When Hutton Talks, Do Scientists Listen?

By | September 7, 1987

The three-day meeting on the origin of the granites that opens in Edinburgh on September 14 is billed as a symposium celebrating the bicentenary of the work of James Hutton. But who is this James Hutton? Could it possibly be that same James Hutton whose name was invoked at another conference but a decade or so ago, the Hutton often referred to as “the father of geology”? Well, yes and no—or rather, yes, yes and no—and thereby hangs a (tragic?) tale. The James Hutton o

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Africans Form Science Union

August 10, 1987

BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO—The continent’s leading scientists and technology experts have agreed to form a Pan-African Union of Science and Technology to apply their knowledge to the enormous economic problems facing their developing countries. The decision was made at the end of an unprecedented week-long meeting here coordinated by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The First Congress of African Scientists was funded in part by UNESCO, the United Nations Development Program and th

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Albert Einstein Looks for a Job

By | August 10, 1987

You’ve promised yourself you’ll begin looking for a job just as soon as summer’s over. Fortify yourself with the tribulations of young Albert Einstein; things got so bad that his father even wrote on his behalf. It took Einstein almost two years to land his entry-level appointment at the Swiss Patent Office But the rest, of course, is history We hope you fare as well. From The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1: The Early Years, 1879-1902 (Princeton University Press,

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Basic Work To Get Boost In Canada

By | August 10, 1987

OTTAWA—The National Research Council of Canada, seeking ways to buffer government pressure to support more applied work, has taken several small steps to bolster basic research. Its latest effort is a $1 million fund from which to finance petitive grants for “curiosity-driven projects” in a variety .of disciplines. In a recent letter to NRC staff, President Larkin Kerwin noted that grants for basic research comprised only 15 percent of the council’s awards but that he

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Bills Seek to Strengthen U.S. Information Policy

By | August 10, 1987

WASHINGTON—The government’s management of scientific and technical information came under heavy fire last month at a congressional hearing. Witnesses charged that the Reagan administration has failed to develop a coherent national policy, and attacked its plans to broaden security restrictions on such information and sell off the National Technical Information Services (NTIS), the nation’s largest repository of technical material. The hearing before the Science, Research a

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