Mars Pathfinder Nearing Its End

first_imgPathfinder, the NASA spacecraft that landed on Mars on 4 July, appears to be in a coma, and unless radio contact is reestablished within 2 weeks, the mission must be abandoned, says flight director David Gruel of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Mission control at JPL hasn’t heard from Pathfinder since 7 October, despite almost daily attempts to reestablish communication. Although the mission is funded through August 1998, communication time on NASA’s Deep Space Network–the three telescopes that send and receive signals from distant spacecraft–is in heavy demand from other programs, such as the Jupiter orbiter Galileo and the Saturn-bound spacecraft Cassini.The root of the problem may be a dead battery, drained by repeated charging and discharging. In principle, Pathfinder’s solar panels should enable the craft to operate during the martian daytime, but crucial hardware appears to have broken down as a result of the battery failure. According to Gruel, battery power was used to keep the electronics of Pathfinder a little bit warmer than the ambient night temperatures of Mars, which are a chilling -73 degrees Celsius. If Pathfinder is indeed experiencing colder-than-normal temperatures, some vital parts may have failed.Mars Pathfinder was designed for a nominal lifetime of 1 month and was well into its extended mission phase. Unfortunately, only about one-third of a high-resolution stereo panorama of the surrounding terrain has been completed, and a trip of the Sojourner rover–whose signals are relayed through Pathfinder–to a distant ridge had not yet begun. But when the sad news of Pathfinder’s death must finally be announced, says Gruel, “it will be like a funeral where a person is not mourned, but praised.”last_img read more

Open-Access Fans Clash With a Congressional Baron

first_imgThe scientific publishing world is all atwitter about Representative John Conyers’s (D–MI) battle this week with defenders of the “open access” rule at the National Institutes of Health. This rule—adopted last year—requires NIH-funded scientists to publish all of their research articles on the internet for free.Conyers, who opposes the policy, introduced a bill last month that would overturn the rule—and was immediately attacked. In blogs, open-access fans questioned Conyers’s motivation and rationale. The Michigan Democrat countered, writing that he opposed the NIH rule because it threatens the principle of copyright, a legal matter that comes under the Judiciary Committee, which he heads. He also argued that NIH’s open-access rule could undermine scientific journals by taking away subscription income.     Conyers’s essay has drawn passionate responses from open-access proponents, notably Michael Eisen, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Eisen calls Conyers’s bill “an atrocious piece of legislation that sacrifices the public interest to those of a select group of publishing companies.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

New Date for First U.S. Swine Flu Vaccine Arrival

first_imgAt least 3.4 million doses of swine flu vaccine will become available the first week in October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today.  In one sense, the news is a setback, as the U.S. government had hoped to receive the first batches of vaccine to help the highest risk groups in September. But CDC officials were upbeat about the late delivery of even this small amount of vaccine, and stressed that plans remain on track to receive much larger batches of product for mass vaccination campaigns starting 15 October.The first 3.4 million doses contain a live, attenuated version of the novel H1N1 virus causing the pandemic. By the end of the year, CDC anticipates receiving a total of 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine, most of which will contain an inactivated version of the virus. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Jay Butler, chief of CDC’s 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Task Force, explained that the government will distribute the first doses of vaccine to states based on their populations, and each locale and individual providers will determine who receives the first doses. Although in July, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices spelled out the populations that should have first priority for the vaccine if limited supplies exist, that group totals 42 million—meaning demand will likely far outstrip supply in early October. “There’s not a recommendation for sub-prioritization,” said Butler.Another complication is that the live virus vaccine that will arrive first is not recommended for pregnant women or children under 2 years of age, two groups considered at high risk. (In pregnant women, the live virus may harm the fetus, and children under 2 had more severe reactions during clinical trials of attenuated vaccine made with seasonal influenza strains.)  Although five manufacturers are racing to supply the U.S. government with vaccine for everyone who wants it, several flu epidemiologists fear that the bulk of product will arrive too late to help many people in the country. As Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of CDC’s influenza division, explained at a press conference today, the novel H1N1 virus currently is in all 50 states, and widespread in 21 of them. “It’s a very strange thing to see that amount of influenza this time of year,” said Jernigan. The U.S. government had hoped to receive “several tens of millions of doses” of vaccine in mid-September (pdf) to protect people in the highest risk group, but production delays have slowed its delivery. Specifically, companies had difficulty developing a potency assay that measures the 15 micrograms of the viral antigens needed for each dose. (The manufacturing of the live vaccine, which will make up only 12.8 million of the 195 million doses, did not face this problem.) About 40 million doses of vaccine are expected to arrive 15 October, and then manufacturers hope to deliver about 20 million doses each week until the end of the year.last_img read more

Chu Comes Out Swinging in Defense of Energy Hubs

first_imgEnergy Secretary Steven Chu has steamed to the rescue of one of his flagship research programs less than a week after a congressional spending panel fired a warning shot across its bow. Appearing yesterday before the House of Representatives energy and water appropriations subcommittee to defend the Department of Energy’s 2011 overall budget request, Chu invoked several icons of scientific achievement in describing where his fledgling Energy Hubs program fits into DOE’s overall portfolio of energy innovation. It was his clearest and most colorful explanation to date of how his so-called Bell Lablets differ from two other programs—the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)—that have attracted far less criticism from legislators. “When you think of the EFRCs,” Chu said, “think about a collaborative team of scientists such as Watson and Crick unlocking the secrets of DNA and, along with their protein crystallographers in their team, creating the field of molecular biology. … When you think of APRA-E, think of visionary risk-takers like Bill Hewlett and David Packard, who created an audio oscillator that jump-started an entire new industry in what we now call Silicon Valley. … [And] when you think of the Hubs, think of large, mission-oriented research efforts such as the Manhattan Prject or the type of research at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories that gave us the transistor.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Chu’s impassioned defense of what he called “an integrated set of research and development initiatives that are critical to accelerating clean energy breakthroughs” was aimed at blunting attacks on the Hubs program. The House panel supported only one of the eight hubs he requested last year, although Congress eventually funded three, and last week it questioned his request for a fourth hub on advanced energy storage. “I’m beginning to get the sense that the committee and the staff appreciate what the EFRCs are and what ARPA-E is,” Chu told reporters after the hearing, the last of a series on the department’s 2011 budget. “But they’re still wrestling with the hubs, which are the new kid on the block. We’ve tried to clarify it for them. … But when it’s something new, it takes time to get the idea across.” Legislators spent most of the hearing finding fault with the Obama Adminstration’s decision to pull the plug on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada. But Chu appeared unruffled by the attacks, which included questions about the legality of a proposed restructuring of the office that oversees the project and the wisdom of DOE’s turning its back on a site that might one day be resurrected. Earlier, in his opening statement, he told legislators: “This is not a kitchen-sink approach. This work is being coordinated and prioritized with a full view of the pieces, and these pieces fit together. Discovering new energy solutions will take smart collaborators pushing the frontiers of science.”last_img read more

Podcast: Gruesome Goblets, Monkey Clues to Autism, and More

first_imgWhy did prehistoric humans use skulls as cups? How can macaques tell us about autism in humans? And what do worms have to do with asthma? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science Podcast host Robert Frederick. (Listen to the full Science podcast and more podcasts.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Obama’s New Math on Medical Research

first_imgWhitehouse.gov Yesterday, in a speech that the media are calling the de facto start of his reelection campaign, President Barack Obama offered up a bit of research arcana, the R03 award given by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It popped up (without its name attached) in his attack on a Republican proposal to lower tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. The tax break, he said, would mean $150,000 apiece to every “millionaire and billionaire.” Then Obama proceeded to explain what $150,000 might buy if it didn’t go into the bank accounts of the rich. His list of seven items—including a year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen, the annual salary of a firefighter or police officer, and a year of financial aid for a low-income college student—had one that might surprise biomedical researchers: “a medical research grant for a chronic disease.” The examples represented what Obama called “investments in education and research that are essential to the economic growth that benefits all of us.” To be sure, it was classic political rhetoric, intended to highlight the difference between his priorities and those of Mitt Romney, his presumptive Republican opponent this fall. But researchers might wonder what he meant by low-budget studies of chronic disease. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) ScienceInsider was intrigued because the average annual size of an NIH grant last year was $448,914. That’s three times the total amount generated by the tax cut, according to the president’s calculation. To find out why the numbers don’t seem to add up, we contacted the White House. The answer, according to a press official who requested anonymity, is that the president was talking not about the typical NIH grant, but specifically the bite-sized R03 mechanism, capped at $50,000 a year for a maximum of 2 years, that’s supposed to help researchers collect enough preliminary data to submit a bread-and-butter R01 proposal. Never mind that R03s constitute less than 0.5% of NIH’s overall spending on research project grants last year. Apparently, it’s their minuscule size that matters to the White House. The average size of the 1132 R03 awards funded in 2011, according to NIH, was $83,796, or roughly $42,000 a year. That number leaves more than $100,000 available for the other six items on the president’s wish list. Insider is still puzzled, however, by why Obama included the phrase “chronic disease.” NIH’s description of the R03 grant says it is typically used to support pilot or feasibility studies; secondary analyses of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; and development of research methodologies. There’s no mention of chronic diseases. Of course, the commander in chief simply may have been using the phrase as a synonym for improving the nation’s health, which is certainly central to NIH’s mission. Correction: The original version of the story misstated the annual size of a typical NIH grant.last_img read more

Tobacco Scientists’ Prize Aspirations Go Up in Smoke

first_imgAfter a huge uproar, a tobacco research project nominated for a prestigious Chinese science prize has been withdrawn from further consideration, according to a story today in Science and Technology Daily. The Chinese newspaper reports that during a 40-day public comment period, the office managing this year’s National Science and Technology Progress Award competition received 58 objections to 19 candidate projects, or 2% of all those nominated. A whopping 33 objections were lodged against the tobacco project, which claims to have improved the quality and marketability and boosted sales of Chinese cigarettes. After the office forwarded the objections to the nominating agencies for their responses, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration withdrew its candidate.last_img read more

House Takes Pot Shots at Research and Ocean Policy

first_img The U.S. House of Representatives has decided that the country can’t afford several federally funded research programs. The list includes the entire political science portfolio at the National Science Foundation, as well as a $10-million NSF program on climate change education. The House would also pull the plug on the American Community Survey, a monthly questionnaire from the Census Bureau that has replaced the long form of the decennial census. And it voted to withhold funds from the Obama Administration’s effort to implement a National Ocean Policy (NOP). The moves were included in amendments to a bill approved today on a largely party-line, 247-to-163 vote that funds the commerce and justice departments as well as NSF, NASA, and other independent agencies. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The targeted programs comprise a tiny fraction of the $51 billion appropriated for 2013 in the so-called CJS bill (HR 5326), one of 12 appropriations measures that fund the entire U.S. government. But House Republicans say that they represent the type of duplicate and/or unnecessary spending that has led to a $1.5 trillion annual deficit and a $15 trillion federal debt. One amendment, from Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), would “prohibit NSF from using taxpayer dollars to fund political science research.” It passed by a vote of 218 to 208 after another Flake amendment, to trim $1.2 billion from NSF’s overall $7 billion budget, failed after attracting just 121 votes. “Now, I hold a graduate degree in political science myself,” Flake noted. “I agree that such research has its benefits. The work of political scientists advances the knowledge and understanding of citizenship and government, politics, and this shouldn’t be minimized. But they shouldn’t be subsidized by the National Science Foundation.” Speaking in NSF’s defense, Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said that Flake’s amendment is an attack not only on political scientists but on academic research writ large. “I can see that you could probably bring a list of studies in front of the Congress from the National Science Foundation and get a laugh on any day,” said Fattah. “But these studies are important. They’re merit based. They’re decided on merit only. I think that it may appear to be costly, $11 million out of a $7 billion funding for the National Science Foundation, but I think that however expensive an education may be, ignorance will probably cost our country more.” Representative Chip Cravaack (R-MN), whose amendment to cut into climate change education passed by a vote of 238 to 188, took a different tack. “This is about duplicative programs,” he told his colleagues. “The National Science Foundation already funds STEM [science, technology, education, and mathematics] education and even climate-change education programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources with worthy peer-reviewed proposals. There is no need to fund additional special climate-change education programs.” Unspoken is the fact that climate change is a bête noire for conservatives, with the $2.5-billion-a-year U.S. Global Change Research Program a particular irritant. However, Cravaack’s amendment affects only a small portion of NSF’s activities relating to climate change. In contrast, the attack on the American Community Survey would gut the Census Bureau’s ability to collect current data on a range of statistical measures used by many federal agencies. That’s exactly the point, said supporters of the amendment offered by Representative Daniel Webster (R-FL). After the House agreed on a voice vote to make ACS voluntary, Webster took the next step by proposing to cancel the $250-million-a-year effort, which he labeled “intrusive and unconstitutional.” Again, it was left to Fattah to make the case for the value of information. “The idea that we don’t want to ask a couple hundred thousand citizens a question about something so that we can better plan for a country of 300 million,” he said, “the idea that filling out a few pieces of paper is too much to be asked for your country to help create a better Union, I think citizens would welcome [that intervention]. In fact, the reason you don’t have to fine anyone is because people do fill out the form.” Webster’s view prevailed on a vote of 232 to 190. The House also voted, by 246 to 174, to accept an amendment that would block implementation of ocean policy programs by forbidding federal agencies from spending money on any NOP-related activities. Representative Bill Flores (R-TX) introduced the amendment, which states that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547.” The “executive order creates a huge new bureaucracy at a time when we’re trying to grow our economy,” Flores said yesterday during debate over the amendment. He also voiced concern that NOP would open the door to potentially far-reaching federal regulation of inland activities, such as agriculture, that can affect the ocean. Other NOP critics have argued that it will siphon funds from other programs. NOP supporters, however, disputed those claims. “The core approach of the National Ocean Policy is to improve stewardship of our oceans, coasts, islands, and Great Lakes by directing government agencies with differing mandates to coordinate and work better together,” said Representative Norman Dicks (D-WA). “The National Ocean Policy creates no new authorities.” “There’s a saying in Washington that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” added Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), who opposed the amendment. “Fishing grounds, shipping lanes, Navy training ranges, offshore energy production, wildlife habitats, and other uses are increasingly in competition, and the National Ocean Policy will help ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.” The House vote came as the Administration is considering thousands of comments on its plan to implement NOP. In other votes, the House rejected efforts to move about $5 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to a minority business program, and to cut $10 million from NASA’s Mars program. It also agreed to increase funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s operations, research, and facilities account by $1.6 million. The overall bill drew a strong endorsement from the Association of American Universities, which applauded both the Administration’s requested funding levels for the research agencies and the House’s support for most of them. It remains to be seen whether any of the amendments will make it into a final spending bill, which is not expected to be completed until late this year. White House officials have said they would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the House version, and the Senate has yet to finalize its bill. U.S. House of Representatives Budget cutter. Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wants the National Science Foundation to stop funding political science research.last_img read more

A Bigger E.U. Research Budget? Don’t Count On It Yet

first_imgBRUSSELS—European researchers should be cautious about their hopes for a big budget boost under Horizon 2020, several observers told a meeting here yesterday. Financial constraints among E.U. member states could shrink the proposed €80 billion budget to €60 billion or even less, Christopher Hull, secretary general of the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations, told the audience at Horizon 2020 and the Future of European Research. Starting in 2014, Horizon 2020 will be the European Union’s main research funding program, awarding grants to university-based and industrial research in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Even the European Commission’s €80 billion proposal isn’t quite the 40% increase it might seem at first glance, Hull noted. Framework Programme 7 (FP7), the current funding program that started in 2006, had a total budget of about €57 billion, but its yearly outlays increased from just over €5 billion in 2006 to a slated €10 billion this year and next. That means that a flat E.U. research budget for the next 7 years would require at least €70 billion for Horizon 2020, Hull said. The European Parliament is currently debating the commission’s proposals for the program, which were unveiled in November. The Parliament is on record as supporting a €100 billion budget for Horizon 2020, but the final sum will be decided by the finance ministers of all 27 E.U. member states as part of their E.U.-wide budget deliberations. Their official position has been that Horizon 2020 should receive as much as FP7: roughly €57 billion. Given the dire fiscal situation of many European governments, “some voices say we’ll be damn lucky to get 60 billion,” Hull told the conference. “The budget is the crucial decision,” agreed Patrick Bressler, head of the Brussels office of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a German funder of applied research. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Final details of the program’s funding rules and priorities will be hashed out in negotiations starting early next year between the commission, the Parliament, and the European Council (comprised of representatives from member state governments). Final approval of the program is expected at the end of 2013, and it is slated to start on 1 January 2014.last_img read more

Dance Your Ph.D.: And The Winner Is…

first_imgWinnerChemistryEvolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminium alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation Cutting sequences on veech surfaces Reader FavoritePhysicsThe sun creates a lot of energy by hydrogen fusion. Scientists are investigating fusion, building our own “sun on earth,” as a sustainable energy source on earth. Read moreRianne ‘t Hoen Governance of natural resources and development of local economies in rural areas: the Social Network Analysis and other instruments for good governance indicators BiologyWe imagined the situation of the people with stroke, who cannot move their limbs properly because of overactivity in antagonistic muscles (spastic cocontraction) whenever they try to command their agonists. Read moreMaria Vinti Spastic cocontraction in spastic paresis: biomechanical and physiological characterizationcenter_img Social ScienceMy Ph.D. research tries to develop a methodology for the evaluation of good local governance of natural resources in rural areas, and in particular it focuses mainly on three aspects. Read moreRiccardo Da Re PhysicsIn the first minute of this video, the dancer (Libby) shows how two pentagons are glued together to make a surface. This is the key idea of the video—the explaining of science, wordlessly, through dance.  Read moreDiana Davis Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, admits to being a shy researcher, “more comfortable hiding behind the computer monitor.” So when his labmates urged him to take part in the “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, he was reluctant. But he finally caved in to the pressure. “A turning point was my boss’s enthusiastic laughter when encouraging me to do it,” Liddicoat says, “and the realization that this would tackle head-on the ominous question, ‘So what is your Ph.D. about?’ “That encouragement paid off. Liddicoat is the winner, announced today, of the chemistry prize and the grand prize of the 2012 Dance Your Ph.D. contest. He will receive $1000 and a trip to Belgium where his dance will be screened at TEDxBrussels.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Explaining a scientific Ph.D. thesis to nonscientists is never easy, even with words. Liddicoat’s is titled “Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminium alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation.” But after 6 months of preparation, and the help of dozens of friends, he turned his Ph.D. into a burlesque artwork. The performance employs juggling, clowning, and a big dance number—representing the crystal lattices that he studies with atomic microscopy.This is the 5th year of the Dance Your Ph.D. contest sponsored by Science and AAAS. The competition challenges scientists around the world to explain their research through the most jargon-free medium available: interpretive dance. The 36 Ph.D. dances submitted this year include techniques such as ballet, break dancing, and flaming hula hoops. Those were whittled down to 12 finalists by the past winners of the contest. Those finalists were then scored by a panel of judges that included scientists, educators, and dancers.This year’s contest sees the first category win for a Ph.D. dance based on pure mathematics. Diana Davis is in the midst of a Ph.D. in geometry and dynamical systems at Brown University. She studies geodesic flow on regular polygons. “It’s actually very related to billiards,” Davis says, “like what happens if you roll a ball on a pool table and it bounces around, assuming that there is no friction and it goes forever.” The math for describing that system has applications in cosmology where, for example, one hypothetical shape of the universe is a twisted three-dimensional torus—in which a spaceship traveling in one direction will eventually return to the same spot, but upside down. For translating her mathematical theorem into dance, Davis has won $500 and top honors in the physics category.Europe also had a strong showing this year. Riccardo Da Re, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Padua in Italy, won the social science category and $500 for a dance based on his Ph.D. work on social networks in rural economies. And Maria Vinti, a physiology Ph.D. student at the Laboratoire de Biomécanique, Arts et Métiers, Paris Institute of Technology, scooped the $500 biology prize for dressing up her performers in full-body unitards and elastic straps to explain her Ph.D. thesis, “Spastic co-contraction in spastic paresis: Biomechanical and physiological characterization.”Our readers picked their own favorite dance this year—and surprisingly it wasn’t one of the winners chosen by the judges. The winner of the Popular Choice award is Rianne ‘t Hoen, for the dance based on her Ph.D. thesis, “Deuterium retention in tungsten.”Winners by CategoryDeuterium retention in tungsten The judges for this year’s contest:Nicholas Christakis, sociologist, Harvard UniversityJean Berko Gleason, psychologist, Boston UniversityAlbion Lawrence, string theorist, Brandeis UniversityJonathan Garlic, molecular biologist, Tufts UniversityErez Lieberman Aiden, mathematician, Harvard UniversityPaul Ginsparg, physicist, Cornell UniversityKeith Nelson, chemist, MITSuzanne Walsh, program officer, Gates FoundationMatt Kent, associate artistic director, PilobolusEmily Kent, coordinator, Pilobolus InstituteRenee Jaworski, associate artistic director, Piloboluslast_img read more

Have Not Applied for Pardon, I Love India: Sanjay Dutt

first_imgBollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who was sentenced to five years in jail by the Supreme Court last week, broke his silence for the first time since the judgement, and said that he would surrender when the time comes. Related Itemslast_img

Why Did India’s Central Bank Governor Have to go

first_imgRaghuram Rajan, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), announced that he would not serve a second term, and instead return to his teaching job at the University of Chicago. Related Itemslast_img

Tiny black holes could trigger collapse of universe—except that they don’t

first_imgIf you like classic two-for-one monster movies such as King Kong vs. Godzilla, then a new paper combining two bêtes noires of pseudoscientific scaremongers—mini black holes and the collapse of the vacuum—may appeal to you. Physicists working with the world’s biggest atom-smasher—Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—have had to reassure the public that, even if they can make them, mini black holes, infinitesimal versions of the ones that form when jumbo stars implode, won’t consume the planet. They’ve also had to dispel fears that blasting out a particle called the Higgs boson will cause the vacuum of empty space to collapse. Now, however, three theorists calculate that in a chain reaction, a mini black hole could trigger such collapse after all.Come out from under the bed; there’s a big caveat. If this could have happened, it would have long before humans evolved. “The thing you mustn’t say is, ‘Shock, horror! We’re going to destroy the universe!’” says Ian Moss, a theoretical cosmologist at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and an author of the paper explaining the result. Rather, he says, the message is that some unknown physics must enter to stabilize the vacuum—encouraging news for physicists searching for something new. Still, Moss acknowledges that the paper could be taken the wrong way: “I’m sort of afraid that I’m going to have [prominent theorist] John Ellis calling me up and accusing me of scaremongering.”Stability of the vacuum is a real issue. Ever since the discovery of the long-predicted Higgs boson in 2012, physicists have known that empty space contains a “Higgs field,” a bit like an electric field, that is made of Higgs bosons lurking “virtually” in the vacuum. Other fundamental particles such as the electron and quarks interact with the field to gain their mass. However, particle physicists have calculated that, given their current standard model of the known particles and the Higgs boson’s measured mass, the Higgs field may not be in its stable, lowest energy state. Rather, it could achieve a much lower energy by taking on much higher strength. That energy-saving transition should inevitably cause the vacuum to collapse and wipe out the universe.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)So why hasn’t that collapse happened? It turns out that to get to the lower energy “true vacuum” state, the Higgs field would have to get through an enormous energy barrier through a process known as quantum tunneling. That barrier is so big that it would likely take many, many times the age of the universe for the transition to occur. So, theorists generally agreed that the Higgs field is “metastable,” temporarily stuck in a “false vacuum” state, and that although the collapse is a problem in principle, practically it’s nothing to worry about.But now, Moss and theoretical physicists Philipp Burda and Ruth Gregory of Durham University in the United Kingdom contend that argument falls apart when you mix in mini black holes—microscopic regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. That’s because a mini black hole acts like a “seed” that can trigger formation of a bubble of true vacuum in a sea of false vacuum, just as a bit of grit can trigger the formation of a bubble of steam in boiling water, as they explain in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters.Without such a seed, a bubble of true vacuum would inevitably shrink. That’s because, even though the vacuum within the bubble has lower energy than the vacuum outside the bubble, the bubble wall at which the two meet has very high energy. So the bubble can lower its total energy by growing smaller and disappearing. For a bubble with a tiny black hole inside, however, it’s a different story. The black hole’s gravity can shift the energy balance, Moss explains, so that any bubble beyond a certain very small size could instead lower its energy by growing. Within a fraction of a second, the bubble would then expand to consume the entire visible universe, Moss says.Those black holes have to be small, Moss and colleagues argue, and they could conceivably come from two sources. They could be “primordial” black holes lingering since the birth of the universe. Or they could be microscopic black holes created within particle collisions such as those at the LHC.So should we worry? No, Moss says. The fact that the universe has been around 13.8 billion years shows that primordial black holes will not trigger such a collapse, he says. As for black holes at the LHC, even if they can be created they also won’t create havoc, he says. The proof of that comes from cosmic rays, which crash into the atmosphere and create even higher energy particle collisions than the LHC can. So even if such collisions spawn black holes, the black holes don’t trigger vacuum collapse, Moss says, or the cosmos would have vanished long ago.The real point, Moss says, is that theorists can no longer shrug off the problem by assuming that the collapse of the vacuum would take a hugely long time. By showing that—according to the standard model—the collapse should happen quickly, the paper suggests that some new physics must kick in to stabilize the vacuum.Others aren’t so sure the argument is persuasive. The theorists make a number of questionable assumptions in their mathematics, says Vincenzo Branchina, a theorist with Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Catania. John Ellis, a theorist at King’s College London, questions the consistency of the calculation. For example, he says, it assumes that the standard model holds true to very high energy scales. However, he notes, the only way the LHC can make a mini black hole is if the standard model conks out and space opens up new dimensions at much lower energy, he says. Still, both Branchina and Ellis say that based on other arguments, they suspect that something does make the vacuum stable.As for the presentation of the argument in the new paper, Ellis says he has some misgivings that it will whip up unfounded fears about the safety of the LHC once again. For example, the preprint of the paper doesn’t mention that cosmic-ray data essentially prove that the LHC cannot trigger the collapse of the vacuum—”because we [physicists] all knew that,” Moss says. The final version mentions it on the fourth of five pages. Still, Ellis, who served on a panel to examine the LHC’s safety, says he doesn’t think it’s possible to stop theorists from presenting such arguments in tendentious ways. “I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” Ellis says. “If someone asks me, I’m going to say it’s so much theoretical noise.” Which may not be the most reassuring answer, either.last_img read more

Smartphones may soon provide earthquake warnings

first_imgWhen it comes to an earthquake, just a few seconds’ warning could make the difference between life and death. But many earthquake-prone countries lack the seismic networks that would give their citizens the lead time to find cover or shut down critical utilities. Now, a group of enterprising engineers is looking at a substitute network: smartphones. Using smartphones’ built-in accelerometers, researchers have invented an app—released today—that they say can detect strong earthquakes seconds before the damaging seismic waves arrive. MyShake, as the app is called, could become the basis for an earthquake warning system for the world’s most vulnerable regions.Trying to harness the world’s 1 billion smartphones for earthquake warning isn’t new, says John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who was not involved in the study. “We all know the approach could work if the phones are properly equipped,” he says. “But [this study has] done a number of things to solidify arguments that it’s practical. [They’re] showing that it could work now, if people are willing to run the software.”Previous efforts have struggled to tease out an earthquake’s shaking from everyday jostles and bumps. Most use sensors already built into cellphones, particularly accelerometers, three-axis motion sensors that keep track of orientation, or GPS, which gives the phone’s absolute position at any time. Last year, a separate team of scientists showed that smartphone GPS systems—although not as precise as sensitive scientific instruments—are still accurate enough to positively detect an earthquake of at least magnitude 7. But as anyone who has used a phone’s map function knows, GPS is a constant drain on battery power, making it somewhat impractical for a warning system that requires constant vigilance.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The smartphone’s ability to identify an earthquake in progress is just one part of the challenge. Another part is on the back end: Devising an algorithm to take data from tens of thousands of smartphones, determine a magnitude and epicenter for the quake, and then issue a timely warning.In a new study, online today at Science Advances, researchers show that the MyShake app can detect earthquakes of at least magnitude 5 occurring within 10 kilometers of the phone. The team spent more than a year collecting data from phones placed on a “shake table,” a device that simulates the ground motions produced by an earthquake, and comparing them with data from everyday movements. “We’ve shown that we can identify earthquakes with a 93% success rate,” says Richard Allen, paper author and seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley. “[That] is remarkable because the kinds of motion a phone experiences from everyday movements are much larger.” The team has also been tweaking its network detection algorithm, which powers the centralized system that analyzes the smartphone data and relays warnings.The initial release of the MyShake app is intended as a large-scale test of the algorithm, aimed at collecting tens of thousands of data points from cellphones. So this version won’t issue alerts just yet, Allen says. But if the app passes the test, the alert system might be functional as early as the middle of this year. So far, MyShake is available only for Android phones. “Globally, there are many more Android phones, and that’s why we focused on that first.”“This is a really nice paper and a good approach,” Vidale says. “It’s quite a practical result. What he’s proposing, properly tuned, could be as good as a standard early warning system with established networks.”Indeed, there are a lot of ways a smartphone early warning system could outperform a standard network, he says: A standard system doesn’t have an infinite number of seismometers, but more like one every 10 to 20 kilometers. A cellphone-based warning system could be much denser, and therefore more accurate. But timing is also an issue. How quickly the system can issue warnings is based on a number of factors, including the magnitude of a quake, the number of cellphones detecting it, and the distance of phones from the epicenter. For example, the researchers estimate that for the 7.8 quake that struck 80 km north of Kathmandu last April, the warning system would give people in the city 20 seconds warning.But that doesn’t mean that such a system would replace a standard network in a well-instrumented country like the United States, Vidale adds. “Hard-wired systems are more immune to tampering and more predictable in behavior than a cellphone network could be. A lot of things are hard to control, including whether cellphone towers might go down in a quake. “It’s not a replacement for existing systems—but it has tremendous potential for places that can’t afford a standard seismic network.”last_img read more

Tiny snail takes flight underwater

first_imgThis tiny snail looks like just a colored dot in the ocean, but under a microscope the reason for its name, “sea butterfly,” becomes clear.  Most snails move by pushing a muscular foot against the sea bottom. But the “foot” of this snail, Limacina helicina, has evolved into two flapping appendages that deserve to be called wings, researchers report this week. Usually, the snail is quite hard to find, but its populations boom during a few weeks each year. And its size varies: The snails grow to just 4 millimeters long in the north Pacific, but reach 14 millimeters off Antarctica. It moves up and down the water column quite fast for such a small creature. To find out how, researchers trained four high-speed video cameras on one 1.5-cubic-centimeter spot in a saltwater aquarium containing some of the smaller snails. They added lots of microscopic reflecting particles and used a laser to make the particles visible. Then they waited, hoping a snail would swim into view. Three snails did, providing the team with a close-up, slow-motion look at how they moved and stirred the surrounding water. Most sea-going microorganisms use their appendages as paddles to push against what feels to them like a thick stew. But the sea butterfly “flies” (see video), generating lift by rotating its wings and body in a figure 8, almost clapping the wings together at the top of the stroke—just like a small flying insect, the team reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Some of the researchers are now testing whether the larger Antarctic snails swim the same way, and one is trying to build a flying robot that mimics the mollusk’s efficient technique.last_img read more