Volume 387 Issue 6635, 19 June 1997

Opinion

  • Opinion |

    Last week's report of a possible genetic basis to an individual's ability to handle complex social situations highlights the importance of developing frameworks to ensure that genetic information is used responsibly

  • Opinion |

    Guidelines for handling allegations of scientific fraud are essential to preserve the reputation of science

News

  • News |

    [LONDON]Anne Campbell, the Member of Parliament for Cambridge, and one of the Labour party's leading voices on science policy, is expected to be given a junior ministerial post with responsibility for science.

    • David Dickson
  • News |

    [MUNICH]A decision to construct a multibillion dollar international facility to test the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a future energy source is almost certain to be delayed by three years.

    • Alison Abbott
  • News |

    [WASHINGTON]An independent study which would have played a key role in determining the shape of US participation role in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor programme has collapsed.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    [WASHINGTON]Intense budget pressures are forcing a cash-strapped NASA to decide which of 10 current solar-terrestrial spacecraft missions should continue to operate beyond their planned lifetimes.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    [WASHINGTON]President Clinton's proposed law outlawing human cloning does not go far enough for many congressional Republicans.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    [PARIS]The European Commission in Brussels has announced details of how it intends to open up both the procedures for nominating experts to advisory committees, and the activities of such committees.

    • Declan Butler
  • News |

    [PARIS]The British government last week announced that it is to extend strict BSE controls to sheep, to guard against the risk that the disease may have 'jumped' to sheep.

    • Declan Butler
  • News |

    [MUNICH]A panel of scientific and legal experts has concluded that two prominent researchers had systematically fabricated a series of research results.

    • Alison Abbott
  • News |

    [MUNICH]A former professor of developmental biology at the University of Geneva, exonerated of earlier fraud charges, has complained that the university refuses to acknowledge his exoneration.

    • Alison Abbott

News Analysis

  • News Analysis |

    Experiments in Nevada will not only increase our understanding of nuclear explosions, but should also help secure the future of the test site.

    • Colin Macilwain

News in Brief

  • News in Brief |

    [MONTREAL]Canada's scientists have been receiving different signals from the new science minister and the minister of industry about whether the federal Liberal government, re-elected last week, will restore the budgets of the research councils.

Correspondence

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A new type of cascade laser has been built that can be tuned in wavelength and gain, and can even be made to emit beams of more than one wavelength at the same time.

    • Sean Washburn
  • News & Views |

    We often use the term ‘attention’ colloquially, as in to “pay attention”. But attention need not necessarily be a singular entity - while reading this page you could attend to another visual stimulus without moving your eyes. Two new papers have studied one facet of attention, known as ‘attentional blink’, whereby you cannot attend to two stimuli if they occur within a certain time of each other. They show that attentional blink makes it impossible to perform some easy visual tasks that were thought not to require attention.

    • Jeremy M. Wolfe
  • News & Views |

    The gamma-ray sky appears to be even richer than we thought, with an unexpected ‘fountain’ of antimatter far above the Milky Way, and more than a hundred unidentifiable point sources. The fountain may be produced by a region of rapid star-formation at the Galactic Centre, where massive stars and supernovae would emit radioactive aluminium-26, which would then decay to produce positrons.

    • Hans Bloemen
  • News & Views |

    Sunflecks - direct patches of light that penetrate tree canopies and strike the forest floor - can have a huge effect on the microhabitat of the plants, animals and microbes below. A new study indicates that plants that can grow in either sunny or shaded sites may be visited by different insect pollinators, depending on the light intensity: in general, whereas large insects such as flies prefer shaded areas, smaller insects such as bees will preferentially visit plants in sunny spots.

    • Peter D. Moore
  • News & Views |

    Forecasts of the size of the world's population in years to come are typically given as a medium (central) estimate bracketed by high and low variants. A different approach, which is for instance used in informing decisions over financial investments, is now being brought to bear on demographic forecasting. It involves estimating a range of population sizes in the future, along with the associated probabilities that the forecast will be accurate. Using this method, the odds that the world's population will double by the year 2050 are less than a third, but it is essentially a sure thing that the fraction of the population over the age of 60 will double.

    • Shripad Tuljapurkar
  • News & Views |

    Most lubricants are liquids, but beyond the liquid realm - at high or low temperature, or in a vacuum - solid lubricants are needed. Conventional solid lubricants are also limited in their range of operation, but a new generation of solid lubricants may be with us. Hollow nanoparticles of tungsten sulphide (similar to carbon fullerenes and nanotubes) have now been synthesized, and they are more slippery and more robust than other materials. Instead of slipping between weakly bonded crystal planes, these nanoparticles may lubricate by rolling.

    • Somuri Prasad
    •  & Jeffrey Zabinski
  • News & Views |

    This week, Daedalus proposes the setting up of a science stock exchange, to put science on “a sound capitalistic basis”. He proposes that university departments could issue shares in their research programmes - researchers would issue prospectuses, and competing shareholders would talk up projects they had backed, or criticise ones in which they had a ‘stag’ position.

    • David Jones

Scientific Correspondence

Erratum

Book Review

Correction

Progress

Article

Letter

Erratum

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