Apart from fashionable new arrivals such as recombinant DNA work and high-temperature superconductivity, much of science throughout the world is feeling the cold winds of freezing funds and lack of public sympathy. In terms of government finance, the halcyon days of “anything goes” for science and its practitioners are over. Science now has the task of hying to survive in a climate that has ceased to be friendly. Moreover, whichever of the traditional disciplines we consider, it is patently obvious that resources have been spread too far and too thin. In circumstances of this sort, scientists everywhere must worry about being vulnerable to extinction as a result of the feckless whims of fashion.

The earth sciences in Britain are a prime example of theproblem and, I believe, of the right solution too. Two years ago, a committee under the chairmanship of Professor Ron Oxburgh, head of the department of earth...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?